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Flight Patterns
by Karen White

Published: 2016-05-24
Hardcover : 416 pages
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Guests on South Battery tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be...

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her ...
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Guests on South Battery tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be...

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit...

It’s been ten years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood, but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled. 

Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep...

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.”
Henry David Thoreau
—Ned Bloodworth’s Beekeeper’s Journal
September 1943
Provence, France
Dead bees fell from the bruised dusk sky, their papery bodies somersaulting in the air, ricocheting like spent shells off the azure-painted roof of the hive. Giles straightened, breathing in the heavy scents of lavender and honey, of summer grasses and his own sweat. And something else, too. Something chemical and out of place in his fields of purple and gold. Something that made sense out of the bees lying like carrion for the swarming swallows above. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. The title FLIGHT PATTERNS has many layers of meaning that only become clear after you’ve read the novel. What do you think the title represents?

2. Many people collect china or have pieces that have been handed down in their family through generations. Do you have a china collection and if so, do you know its history? Is knowing its history particularly meaningful to you?

3. Georgia and Maisy grew up knowing that their mother, Birdie, was mentally ill, but it doesn’t seem to be something that is openly discussed in the family, and even between the sisters. Is there a stigma in talking about mental illness? Is this something you think you would be able to discuss with either family or friends?

4. One of the themes in FLIGHT PATTERNS is family and what people do in the name of family, to protect their families. Many of the characters in FLIGHT PATTERNS have done extreme things to protect their family—whether it’s Giles sending Colette away, Georgia’s gift to her sister, or Ned protecting his wife even long after her death. Do you feel that this is realistic? Would you go to the same extremes for your family?

5. Bees and beekeeping are important elements throughout FLIGHT PATTERNS. What do you think the bees represent to the different characters?

6. After caring for the bees almost religiously most of his life, Ned does something so destructive towards the bees and nearly burns down the house and kills his granddaughters. Why do you think Ned acted the way he did?

7. Birdie has been acting for nearly her entire life, despite not having a career on the stage or screen—who do you think the real Birdie is?

8. Becky accidentally discovers a secret about herself. Is this something that Maisy should have told her about before? Why or why not?

9. We find out that Ned is the one who sent in Giles Mouton’s name to Yad Vashem to be recognized and honored for what he did during World War II. Do you think this helps to mitigate some of the guilt he bears in Giles’s death?

10. Birdie’s inability to cope with her past and her emotional instability lead her to being a neglectful mother to both Georgia and Maisy. Do you think she deserves forgiveness from her daughters now that they know the truth of her damaged personal history?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Serving suggestions?
by nbaker (see profile) 10/10/16
Definitely hot tea, with warm biscuits and lots of sweet honey.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Carol L. (see profile) 05/16/22

by Bea S. (see profile) 02/16/19

  "An Awesome and Beautiful Read"by Nancy B. (see profile) 10/10/16

Wow - such a potent story. I'm speechless and want to just pick up the book and start it over again. Karen White has again proven why she is one of my favorite authors and this one may be my... (read more)

  "Flight Patterns"by Elizabeth P. (see profile) 06/03/16

Georgia vowed she would never return home after she and her sister had words and parted ways ten years ago.

But....never say never. James, a client of Georgia's looking for a special Lim

... (read more)

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