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A Matter of Happiness: A Novel
by Tori Whitaker

Published: 2022-11-08T00:0
Paperback : 363 pages
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A cherished heirloom opens up a century of secrets in a bittersweet novel about family, hard truths, and self-discovery by the author of Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish.

Melanie Barnett thinks she has it all together. With an ex-fiancé and a pending promotion at a Kentucky bourbon ...

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Introduction

A cherished heirloom opens up a century of secrets in a bittersweet novel about family, hard truths, and self-discovery by the author of Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish.

Melanie Barnett thinks she has it all together. With an ex-fiancé and a pending promotion at a Kentucky bourbon distillery, Melanie has figured out that love and career don’t mix. Until she makes a discovery while cleaning her Jordan MX car, a scarlet-red symbol of the Jazz Age’s independent women that she inherited from her great-great-great-aunt Violet. Its secret compartment holds Violet’s weathered journal?within it an intriguing message: Take from this story what you will, Melanie, and you can bury the rest. Melanie wonders what more there is to learn from Violet’s past.

In 1921 Violet Bond defers to no one. Hers is a life of adventure in Detroit, the hub of the motorcar boom and the fastest growing city in America. But in an era of speakeasies, financial windfalls, free-spirited friends, and unexpected romance, it’s easy to spin out of control.

Now, as Melanie’s own world takes unexpected turns, her life and Violet’s life intersect. Generations apart, they’re coming into their own and questioning what modern womanhood?and happiness?really means.

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Discussion Questions

From the author:

Discuss how loyalty is portrayed in the novel—loyalty between sisters, lovers, mothers and daughters, girlfriends, and co-workers. And what of being loyal to one’s self?

How did women's rights in the Jazz Age compare to those now? What are the differences between a modern woman then and now?

Discuss how the inherited car is a metaphor for Melanie’s personal journey in this story. Might a theme of restoration also relate to the bourbon industry over a century?

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