Nicole Seitz, Author of Southern Fiction
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BEYOND MOLASSES CREEK
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THE INHERITANCE OF BEAUTY
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SAVING CICADAS
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A HUNDRED YEARS OF HAPPINESS
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TROUBLE THE WATER
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THE SPIRIT OF SWEETGRASS
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Recent Progress in Gullah/Geechee and sweetgrass culture

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books - The Inheritance of Beauty

The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole SeitzFor Book Clubs!

It's time to party Magnolia-style! Dust off your Bingo game and get ready to eat some flavorful Southern food! Magnolia is tired of Harmony House eats, so she dreams of things like corn bread, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and of course, something chocolate for desert.

"I’m starving. I hope somebody takes me to supper soon. I hope they have cornbread sopping in butter. Macaroni and cheese. Fried chicken, maybe, though they’ll cut it up into tiny unchokable pieces. I don’t want that, I want flavor. And lots of salt. Something chocolate and bad for dessert. Bad, bad food." - Magnolia in The Inheritance of Beauty

Reader's Guide/Book Club Questions

  1. Magnolia’s thoughts tend to go back to her childhood, yet George only visits his in dreams. Why? Do you know an elderly person who now seems to live in the past, or conversely, one who never speaks of it?

  2. Magnolia says, “Magic can either come from one of two places, up above or down below.” Discuss the role of “magic” in this book. What does Maggie make with her hands? Does this change by the end of the book? If so, why?

  3. Beauty plays a major role in this novel. Who is or was beautiful? Discuss the difference between inner beauty and outward beauty in these characters. What about the title The Inheritance of Beauty? Whose inheritance is it? What comes along with that inheritance, blessing or curse?

  4. Miss Annie says, “Some families are cursed, it’s logical, biblical, but it only takes one to break it. One folk who just won’t have it no more.” Have you ever felt you were carrying the burden that comes from a troubled family lineage or from unresolved issues?

  5. Does race play a significant role in The Inheritance of Beauty? Why or why not?

  6. Discuss George and Maggie’s love relationship with regards to age and time. Do you think of their love as being perfected at some point in time or evolving and multifaceted as they age? Do you know a relationship like theirs? Would you want a love relationship like this one?

  7. Why did Ash leave Levy? Why did he stay away? Where his reasons valid? Were they noble?

  8. No one in this novel is perfect—they each have a mixture of good and bad in them and decisions they’ve suffered over. Discuss the themes of guilt, grief and redemption in this novel.

  9. In writing this book, the author states that she set out to discover why some people live so long with seemingly little or no quality of life. Do you think she discovered some answers? Did you?

  10. Joe’s character seems to come in and out of George’s, Maggie’s, and Ash’s lives like a moth to light. How have they each shaped each other’s experience? Would their lives have been the same had they not come together? What about if they’d not gone their own separate ways?

  11. Why do you think these children must come together again at the end of life? Is this realistic? Do you believe in the supernatural guiding the natural world? Do you believe in miracles?

  12. Who is the true hero or heroine in this book? Why?

  13. Discuss Harmony House. Is this a place you would want to live? Is Miss Annie someone you would want in your life? In the end of the book, how has Miss Annie’s life changed, if at all?

  14. Discuss the symbolic role of the Harmony House cat in The Inheritance of Beauty.

  15. Who set the fire in Levy? Why does this matter?

  16. Do you have a special, sacred place from your childhood like Togoodoo Creek? Have you ever been back? If so, how had it—or you—changed? Can one ever really go back home?
     
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The Spirit of Sweetgrass Trouble the Water, coming February 2008!