BKMT READING GUIDES

Always, Always Choose Again
by Deb Whalen

Published: 2021-07-29T00:0
Paperback : 358 pages
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A lighthearted, leisurely escape to Lake Chatuge where erupting secrets trail the ricocheting course of a neurodiverse romance.

Celebrity biographer Eli Sledge has jettisoned a neuro-incompatible marriage for all the wrong reasons, and along the way, conjured a determined enemy. Just ...

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Introduction

A lighthearted, leisurely escape to Lake Chatuge where erupting secrets trail the ricocheting course of a neurodiverse romance.

Celebrity biographer Eli Sledge has jettisoned a neuro-incompatible marriage for all the wrong reasons, and along the way, conjured a determined enemy. Just as she believes her stars have aligned, her fresh start collapses in scandal. While rehabbing the old family farmhouse, she encounters a few similarly self-exiled women, some glaciered in beliefs still causing more damage than the mistakes that ignited them.

Follow revelations and adventures among women who never had the time, emotional space, or trust to invest in friends.

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Excerpt

Always dependable Eli Sledge is running on empty, keeping up appearances and struggling to rebalance emotionally when she lands the client who could establish her as a premier celebrity biographer. That client is David Harrison, legendary for his film career, production company, and charitable endeavors. During Eli’s last weeks of research for the book at his Beaufort, South Carolina home, the Harrison family’s warm welcome has given her a glimpse into their close, loving circle—and a hint of their well-kept secret.

Upon returning to work in Atlanta, her fractured world shatters. She discovers her basis for that reluctant divorce may have been an enduring misunderstanding; and that her client, David Harrison, has received a blackmail threat linked to Eli. She clashes again with her new boss, who cuts her loose to face the charges alone.

Eli bolts to an empty farmhouse on the shores of Lake Chatuge in the North Georgia Mountains. It was the last stop on her long list of childhood layovers, most recently the home of Eli’s Aunt Ta, the high school principal. Over the years she had invited Eli’s mother and later Eli to spend summers at the lakeside home she shared with her husband. It became home for fourteen-year-old Eli and her then infant cousin, Pete, after an accident had orphaned them both.  

To that empty home Eli returns eighteen years after eloping with brilliant, impossible Ted Waller—after nurturing young Pete, after her career collapsed, and after learning that the decision to end her marriage had been misguided. Meanwhile, Ted is moving on with an ambitious admirer. Eli focuses on repairing the old farmhouse, refusing to face her circumstances as isolation fuels her mounting fears. And along this path she meets real trouble.  

Throughout, Eli’s vexation over the failed relationship with her emotionally absent ex begins to wear thin as Ted, his brother Lew, and old friend Mac pursue their passion for racing vintage sports cars, resulting in assorted collisions—vehicular and otherwise. 

Yes, there’s drama, but lots of fun, too, as Eli stumbles into tentative friendships, tender discoveries, and adventurous encounters. She and several seemingly average neighbors find new perspectives on their situations during essential morning walks and eventful Sunday night bonfires on the lakeshore. Join them as they discover how to embrace life again.  

And that neurodiverse romance? Those can be chameleon relationships—blending into the background, undistinguished from any other Mars-Venus duo. While Eli may come across as desperate for validation, and Ted may remind you of that tactless date a friend set you up with in college, their dynamic runs far deeper.  

Now that you know how their story begins, meet the cast of characters and enjoy your roller coaster year with them in the pages of Always, Always Choose Again.  view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever been happily astonished by a new perspective on someone you know?
2. What was your impression of this neuro-incompatible romance? Is it distinguishable from what you would consider average give and take in a relationship?
3. Have you met people you considered to be “jerks” along life’s path who, in retrospect, may have been far gentler souls than you realized? People for whom personal interactions are cerebral minefields?
4. Could you detect any elements of the story that justify Eli’s deep love for Ted?
5. Which character might you enjoy having move in next-door to you, and why?
6. Did this story—of relatively average people summoning the courage to help one another release what wounds them—shift your thoughts about connecting with people in your life?

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