'A Lesson In Vengeance' Readalong Day 1!By: OwlCrate .
Welcome to the first day of our book club read-along for OwlCrate's August book, A Lesson in Vengeance!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 1-5 of A Lesson in Vengeance, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box!
The story begins...
Felicity’s mom drops her off at Dalloway School, her private boarding school in the Catskills, four days before the start of term. She needs some time to adjust after having been away for the previous Spring semester. Settling into her room in exclusive Godwin House, Felicity decides to read in the common room after she’s done unpacking, needing to face the grief of being here after what happened to Alex. As she’s reading she hears a thump coming from the room that used to belong to Alex, but she can’t make herself open the bedroom door. Back in the common room she again hears a thump and slide and running up the stairs two at a time Felicity comes face to face with a girl, not a ghost, living in Alex’s room.
Felicity barely sees the new girl over the next few days. While sitting in the reading nook at the end of a hallway Felicity nods off and dreams of hanging from a ledge high on a mountain, Alex’s body broken on the rocks below. Jolting awake, Felicity turns on all the lights in the hallways as she makes her way back to her room. She lights three candles, not to cast a spell as she maybe would have done before, but for something to focus on. Although it’s after three in the morning the girl from Alex’s room appears, complaining about all the lights. Before she can leave, Felicity introduces herself. The girl tells Felicity her name is Ellis, but refuses to specify if it’s her first or last name, laughing as she walks away.
The rest of the student body arrives two days later, including the remaining new tenants of Godwin House. Deciding to introduce herself, Felicity heads to the common room where the other girls are playing chess. Ellis seems to have placed herself as the leader of this little group in just a few hours. They discuss the history of Godwin House, including the Dalloway Five, five girls that lived there together who all died - from witchcraft and ritual murder? Or something else?
At the beginning and end of every semester Boleyn House throws a Moulin Rouge themed party. Felicity usually attends with Alex, but this time wanders the party alone. Approached by a Haley, a girl who used to worship Alex, she let’s Felicity know that Ellis is the Ellis Haley, the seventeen year old, Pulitzer Prize winning prodigy who has, for some reason, decided to attend Dalloway for her senior year.
Most of the houses at Dalloway have secrets, including Boleyn House. It is here that hides the alter for the Margery Skull, which has now been missing for over a year. It is also here that Felicity pledged her blood and loyalty to the dead witch Margery Lemont. Felicity decides to visit the girl guarding the Boleyn crypt and quickly comes to realize the girl is afraid of her. The girl tells her that Felicity wasn’t meant to receive a letter this year. Back in the main party, Ellis and the other girls from Godwin arrive. Ellis catches Felicity’s eye from across the room and maintains eye contact as Clara whispers in her ear and while making a scissor motion with her fingers. Felicity flees the party back to Godwin house and notices that although it’s early, only 9:30, the grandmother clock in the common room has stopped at 3:03 - the exact same time Felicity woke up from her nightmare in the reading nook. Startling Felicity, Ellis arrives back alone from the party, having managed to lose their other housemates. She makes them coffee and they discuss Ellis’ new book - an exploration of the concept of the psychopath. It also so happens to be about the Dalloway Five, and Margery Lemont specifically. The other girls from Godwin House return, breaking the momentary spell of companionship between them.
As the start of the semester begins Felicity can no longer avoid declaring her senior thesis topic. Previously, it was about the witches of Dalloway, but she has shifted to researching about misogyny in horror literature instead. Back at Godwin the others invite her to cook dinner and they eat together in the dining room. After, they retreat to the common room where they read poetry and drink old fashions poured by Ellis. Ellis reveals that she must experience what she is writing - method writing, as you will.
- What do you think happened on the climbing trip with Alex?
- Where do you think the Margery Skull is? How did it go missing?
- Do you think there’s truth to the story of the Dalloway Five? Or do you think it was less occult and more planted in reality?
- Do you think there’s more to Ellis attending Dalloway than just writing her book?
- Did you enjoy the first section of the story?
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