Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met on Monday to discuss our January book, Angel of the Battlefield by Ann Hood.  It was a terrific meeting with a wonderful discussion that lasted the full hour!

We started by talking about the Newport mansions, which ones we have visited and how Elm Medona seems to be pieces of many of the real mansions put together.  We looked at the Elm Medona floor plans (included in some of the paperback books and available on The Treasure Chest website) and discussed how the name Elm Medona might be an anagram of sorts or perhaps a combination of some of the main characters names.  We thought about what it might be like to live in one of the Newport mansions and decided that although it might be creepy it would also be really cool because there would be lots to explore and there would be more than enough space to store your things.  Everyone agreed that they would prefer to live in the main part of a mansion though, and not the servant's quarters.

We talked about the twins, Felix and Maisie and the ways in which they are similar and how they are different.  Felix, we decided is the nicer twin, who we felt was more relatable, someone who follows the rules.  We all found Maisie to be really bossy, much more daring and definitely a rule-breaker.  We thought that she was, at times, much too mean to Felix and didn't understand how he was feeling.

We talked about the incident with the broken Ming vase, why Maisie pocketed a piece of it and what may have been going on there.  We thought that Maisie might have taken a piece because it was so interesting, the way it was broken so exactly, and because she knew the vase was priceless and wanted a piece for herself.  A few of our club members have read ahead in The Treasure Chest series and assure us that the situation with the vase is explored further in future books and it's meaning becomes more clear. 

We explored Maisie's relationship with her Great-Aunt Maisie and how it really transforms over time.  In the beginning, Maisie isn't too fond of her Great-Aunt, finding her old, boring, and maybe even a little bit crazy.  Over the course of the book she realizes how special her Great-Aunt is and comes to appreciate her wisdom and knowledge of the things that have happened to Maisie and Felix.

Of course we had to discuss the time-travel adventure, how the twins ended up in Massachusetts in 1836 and how at first they were unhappy to be there.  They really wanted to go back to their original home in New York City but they came to realize they had a very important job in delivering the letter to a young Clara Barton.

We all enjoyed reading about Clara Barton and learning more about her amazing life and work. 

According to Ann Hood's website there are going to be 8 books total in the Treasure Chest series.  Books 1 -5 introduce Felix and Maisie to historical figures including Alexander Hamilton, Pearl S. Buck, Harry Houdini and Crazy Horse.  We thought a lot about who the twins might meet in the last three installments and considered the possibility of a former U.S. president (a less well known president), a former First Lady (maybe Martha Washington or Mary Todd Lincoln), or perhaps Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell or Helen Keller.  We are all very anxious to find out who the twins will really meet as the books are released in the next few years.

Overall it was a fantastic meeting with a really excellent book discussion.  Thanks to all the Book Buddies members who attended and I look forward to seeing you again next month!

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