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Book Club Read Along Discussion: Sommersgate House

by Donna Soluri

We are moving right along in our October discussion of Kristen Ashley's Ghosts and Reincarnation series. This week let's look at my personal favorite in the series, the one I have been known to re-read often—and not just in October—Sommersgate House. For me, this book has everything. We get a sexy, aloof, dark, and brooding man of mystery complete with a scar on his face. A strong, loving, smart, and dedicated heroine with a kickass wardrobe and sense of style who definitely knows her worth. Three amazingly written kids and a true-love-never-dies ghost story. Honestly, throw in some fabulous society parties, some smoking hot sex, danger, intrigue, and of course, kittens, and I don't know what more you could possibly want from a book!

ICYMI last week, here's how our weekly discussions work: I'll give you the book's nickel tour and list a condensed version of our discussion questions. If you want to drop more items here, feel free to do so in the comments below. I'll check them throughout the day and add them to our main discussion board. Where is that main discussion board? Well, come on over to my B+M Bites profile page by clicking the link below. If you're not familiar with the Bites portion of the show here at Book+Main, allow me to introduce it to you. You can search for books by keywords and tropes. You can read author-supplied "Bites," which are extended teases, samples, and sometimes exclusive content from a particular book that can give you a feel for the story and writing. In the Community tab, you can join discussions like this and find some fun recommendations from other book influencers like myself. I hope you'll join us and stick around for more lively discussions of books we love; maybe you'll find your next read!

With that said, make sure you head over to my Book+Main Bites profile page to join the full discussion. Until then, here's a little primer!

About Sommersgate House

Sommersgate House tells the story of Douglas Ashton and Julia Fairfax. They are literally worlds apart in almost every instance except for the undying love and adoration they share for their siblings. Julia's brother Gav married Douglas' sister Tamsin, had three beautiful children, Lizzie, Willie, and Ruby; lived a lovely life in England. All was well until one fateful evening changed everything. After losing their siblings in a terrible car accident, Douglas and Julia are left to raise the children themselves in a haunted castle the Ashton family has owned for years. Julia packs up her life in the US and moves to England to gladly fulfill her brother and sister-in-law's final wish. Douglas, already the resident and Lord of the Castle, so to speak, resides in Sommersgate House but has busied his life in a world of business and a secretive second life that he can't speak of or he'd have to kill you. Yes, Douglas is 100% a secret agent for the Queen, and he's one of the best at his job.

Our ghost story revolves around the couple that built Sommersgate House hundreds of years ago. They were a happy couple and entirely in love with each other, until one terrible night. The ghost story states that Lady Ruby was murdered at the grand staircase's foot while her loving husband looked on from the front entry. The mystery of how and why is not fully known, nor is the question of who murdered Ruby. All we know is Ghost Ruby is inside the house and can only freeze your ankles or scream in your head. Her husband is stuck outside, trying to scratch his way back in. Family lore states they can only reconcile when the master of the house finds and commits to his one true love...

(All comers are welcomed, even—especially—late-comers!)

Discussion Questions

Here's a sampling of our discussion questions. Make sure you follow along and participate over on my profile page.

1 Childhood trauma we see it in Douglas and in the children, Lizzie, Willie, and Ruby. How do you think that trauma has shaped these characters, and do you think they can overcome the ill effects?

2 Julia loves with her whole heart. How do you open your heart to love again after it has been so thoroughly shattered by someone you trusted to love and honor you?

3 Chapter 20, or what I affectionately refer to as the Christmas meltdown, is when Ruby-girl fully understands what happened to her parents. When reading that, did you dissolve into a pool of tears, or are you completely dead inside? Give me your thoughts on how Willie, who became Will that evening, handled things. Also, let's talk about how Douglas dealt with the children with such care; it's making me misty just typing this up!

4 Secondary Characters go a long way in making the story feel real. From Julia's new best friend to our scared chambermaid to Douglas' shrew of a mother, do you have a favorite? Or should we just give that title to Mrs. Kilpatrick and call it a day?!!?

Okay, that's a taste of what we are talking about on my profile. Get over there, and let's talk it out!

Next week we are discussing Laceybourne Manor. I love the ghost story in this one, and man Colin is an asshole to the nth degree. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one!

About Donna

Donna should be an empty nester, but she's not, thanks COVID-19. She's a voracious reader of all books; she can't pick just one sub-genre. A staunch supporter of seasoned romance and a lover of cupcakes, you'll often find her with a cup of tea and a mountainous TBR pile close at hand. Follow her @DonnaSoluri on B+M Bites.

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2 Replies to “Book Club Read Along Discussion: Sommersgate House”

    • Amber
    • I thought this story was pretty good. It’s my first KA so I wasn’t expecting the level of detail with fashion and interior design. I actually really liked how they dealt with childhood trauma because it wasn’t just something glossed over and people were miraculously okay in a week or a month. From Julia completely shutting herself from men and Doug trying to always be the best for a father that doesn’t care. I’m glad they found each other and could work through that healing. I also appreciate that they’re not 20somethings still working through this. They’re in their 30s and have to actually acknowledge their pain and work though it. My heart absolutely breaks for Ruby and when she said she screams so that her parents can find her 🥺. I’m a little hurt for Will too he now has to grow up so much faster and has his sisters who look up to him though shared trauma. My favorite character had to be Mrs K and I adore Patricia too. It’s my first KA but won’t be my last. I’m on to the next one

    • Reply
      • Donna
      • Amber! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this book. Yes, Kristen Ashley is famous for her very specific attention to details, especially when it comes to home decor and fashion! It definitely puts you directly into the scene, doesn’t it?

        Many of Ashley’s characters are a bit older than the 20something norm and I love that about her books – her people have life experiences to pull from, yes, they make mistakes, we all do, they aren’t perfect but I greatly enjoy reading older, more mature characters. Julia and Doug are prime examples of that. You’ll also learn Kristen Ashley has a unique ability to write kids, of all ages and make them real, genuine, multi-layers characters, not just plot points or cliched devices – it’s another reason why I love her stories so much. And Rudy, the Christmas scene…gah, right in the feels!

        I hope you enjoy Laceybourne Manor, the hero is the most high-handed of all in this series so gird your loins for that! The ghost story in this one might be my favorite – it really steals the show IMO!

        And three cheers for book discussions! Thanks for taking the time to chat. !!

      • Reply

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