Marshmallows For Breakfast

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As I'd approached it, it had felt like my flat, even though I'd only seen the pictures that Mr. Gadsborough had e-mailed me. It felt like the place where I could start again. Leaving Sydney had been a decision made in haste. I had no idea where I was going to live, no family in England I could impose upon, so I'd spent hours trawling the Net until I'd seen the ad for this place.

After a few conversations with the owner, when we'd gone through the process of couriering contracts back and forth, and transferring money, it was mine. All mine. I'd felt a calmness flow through me when Mr. Gadsborough told me I could rent the flat.

I had somewhere to live, somewhere to hide. The navy-blue front door had a brass knocker.

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Behind the door would be stairs that led up to what would become my space. The chill of the place had come rushing down the stairs to greet me as I'd swung open the door. It was cool outside, but colder inside—the absence of someone in the house had left its mark. I'd stared up at the wooden stairs with a gentle turn at the top—there was no way I'd make it up in one go. Leaving my suitcases on the doorstep, I'd climbed the stairs.

I'd shed my rucksack and bag, then pelted back down and bumped one of my suitcases up the stairs, pelted back and bumped up the other one.

Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson | Penguin Random House Canada

After shutting the door behind me I'd stopped. It seemed to be the first time in weeks I'd done that, stopped. I'd stopped and allowed the stillness that came from a place that hadn't been inhabited for a while to descend upon me. I'd closed my eyes, inhaled the sensation of motionlessness deep into my lungs, then exhaled it. Pushed it out to join the quiet around me.

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This was what tranquillity felt like. This was what I wanted when I'd boarded the plane for home. I'd opened my eyes and for the first time properly took in the room. The entire flat was about forty feet long, most of it open plan. To my right was the living area with a sofa, the television and a coffee table.

Beside the sofa was the doorway that led to the bedroom. To my left was the small and round dining table with three chairs. Beyond that, at the far end was the kitchen with a whole wall of glass that let light flood in. Beside it, the door that led to the bathroom. The entire flat, apart from the bathroom, had stripped wood floorboards, topped with brightly colored rugs that sat like islands at equally spaced points along the floor.

On the dining table stood a box of chocolates tied up in a pink bow, a piece of white card propped up against it. I'd picked up the note. Welcome to your new home, Kendra. From the Gadsborough family. A sweet and unexpected gesture that told me they were good people. Normal, kind.

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I'd felt that every time I'd spoken to Mr. They were decent and friendly. That had caused a trickle of anxiety to run through me. Their potential friendliness could be a problem, I'd thought, as I'd put down the note and stared at the chocolates. I needed to be left alone for a while. I felt like a fugitive, running away from Australia, and I needed solitude now that I was home.

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  4. A place where I could spend time on my own, licking the wounds that had made me leave Sydney; get myself together. Get stronger as I eased myself back into being around people again. My biggest fear as I'd fingered the cellophane covering of the chocolates was that they wouldn't leave me alone long enough for me to start rebuilding my life. That they wouldn't leave me alone, full stop. When Kendra Tamale returns to her native England after a long absence, she is looking for a fresh start and a simple life.

    She arrives at her new home—a room she has rented online from a kind man named Kyle Gadsborough—with few expectations. But things soon turn out to be much more complicated than she ever imagined. The following questions are intended to enhance your discussion of this engaging novel. What was your first impression of Kendra as a character? How did your understanding of her motivations and personality evolve throughout the novel? Did you have any ideas about her early on that were later proven to be either true or false?

    Against her will, Kendra is drawn into the Gadsborough family crisis almost immediately. Were you surprised by her actions and reactions that first Saturday morning and beyond? What would you have done in her situation? Once you knew the full story, did it change your view of Kendra? What effects did these experiences have on her? Consider the conversation Kendra and Kyle have about ideals and child-rearing starting on page What do you make of each of their perspectives?

    Why does each feel the way they do? Do you agree with one or the other, or is the truth somewhere in the middle? If you have children, have your ideas about being a parent changed over the years? Does ideology give way to practicality?

    Marshmallows for breakfast

    Was she really surprised by it, or was her reaction coming from somewhere else? Throughout Marshmallows for Breakfast , we see people who are otherwise very close keeping secrets from each other.

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    5. What do you think the author was trying to say about the role of secrets in friendships? Look closely at how the secrets in this novel are revealed, and to whom. What does each secret mean to the person keeping it? What does it mean to the ultimate confidante? How did you feel about Ashlyn? Could you forgive her for the mistakes she made with regard to her marriage and children? Did you think she was a good person at heart? Do you believe she will stay sober? What did this add to your reading experience? Was there anyone you would have liked to hear from that you did not?

      Each chapter is named for a breakfast—from the traditional to the fanciful. Take a look at which chapters carry which names—what are some that stand out to you, and why?

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      Did you feel like each chapter carried an appropriate heading? Have you ever known someone like Janene? Did her cruelty take you by surprise? Would you have handled her differently? What does this statement mean to her? How did you expect Kyle and Kendra to wind up at the end of the book? In what ways would they be a good couple and in what ways do you think they might be better off with someone else?

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