Book Discussion: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Manitowoc Public Library
Board Room

Event Details

Join MPL staff for a book discussion of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. Books are available near the service desk.

Phaedra Patrick has worked as a stained glass artist, waitress, film festival organizer and communications manager. She had her first success as a writer entering and winning short story competitions. Her writing has been described as “tender, insightful and surprising”.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is her first novel. She has one other novel, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone published in 2017, and is at work on another novel.

She lives in Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son.


In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.

1. How does Arthur's journey change him? And what are the most important things he discovers about himself, Miriam, and their life together?

2. Why do you think Miriam never told Arthur about her life before they met? Do you think she was justified in keeping these secrets? And do most married couples keep secrets about their past from each other?

3. Bernadette looks after her “lost causes” with home-cooked food; why do you think she does this? Do you ever use food as a way of looking after yourself, or others?

4. Arthur encounters many people on his travels, including tiger-crazy Lord Graystock, young homeless man Mike, French wedding-boutique owner Sylvie, busybody neighbor Bernadette, caring daughter Lucy, illegal immigrant Sebastian, novelist Francois de Chauffant and Indian doctor Mr. Mehra. Which character did you feel most emotionally connected to, and why?

5. Arthur is a decent man. Why has he grown estranged from his children?

6. Arthur learns more about technology through his conversation with Nathan – for example, finding Sonny Yardley via Facebook. Would Arthur have been able to trace the charms without technology?

7. What do you think the ending suggests about Arthur's mindset at the end of his journey? And what do you think is next for him?

8. The young homeless man, Mike, tells Arthur “Those charms might bring you luck.” What is your own lucky charm, and what luck has it brought you? Which is your favorite story behind the charms in the book?

Event Type(s): Book Discussion
Age Group(s): Adults
Service Desk
(920) 686-3000