Meet the lovely ladies of the Chat and Chew Book Club, representing (quite well) Columbia, South Carolina. According to book club manager Sharmin, “Our club began in 2001 and meets to discuss books monthly (except December when we have a holiday brunch). We are all age 60 or so, representing a variety of professions, some retired. The genres we consider each November when we choose our books for the coming year include recent fiction, classics, biography, Southern/SC author or history, mystery, historical fiction and any book that might lend itself to a field trip! We have had success doing “phone interviews” with authors (Martha Hall Kelly has “visited”with us three times!). We have 13 members, and meet monthly in Columbia, South Carolina. We enjoy reading all genres but self-help, political.”

Sharmin, whose background is in event planning, certainly pulls out all the stops for the planning and execution of her book club’s meetings, as evidenced by the detail and photos shared from her group’s recent visit with New York Times bestselling author and book club favorite Kate Quinn.

Here’s the play by play:

“(Kate), just so you know, before we chat with you, we will have supper which will copy for the most part the Elizabeth-Philip wedding breakfast! Instead of partridge casserole, we will have chicken pie along with potatoes, green beans, salad and strawberries. I ordered petit fours from a bakery to serve as our “wedding cake”—with EP initials on top of each! Yes, we will have sparkling wine too. While we eat, I will give the group a brief overview about you and the other books you’ve written as well as some background on Bletchley Park. Then we will be ready to connect with you!  I have also read The Alice Network, The Huntress and The Diamond Eye—learned so much! I think others in our group have read one or more of these too.”

Sharmin ensured a successful visit, and followed up with these kind words of appreciation:

“Thank you again for such an interesting and memorable book club last night, Kate! I’m getting texts today from members saying how wonderful it was. They hung on every word! And we are on the watch for September and The Phoenix Crown…We will definitely be back in touch for another Novel Network opportunity. ”

Sharmin, your eye for detail is impressive, and your book club obviously benefits from your creative florish.

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