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"A Court of Thorns and Roses" Book Discussion and "Spring Court" White Choc Strawberry Cupcakes w/Lemon Frosting Recipe

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.

a-court-of-thorns-and-roses-book-discussion-and-recipe

Feyre is a hunter by circumstance, though she dreams of her family no longer needing her to enter the dangerous woods near the border to kill for their food, especially during this cold, barren winter. She thrills when a doe is being hunted by an unnaturally large wolf, who she knows could be disguised. Her family will benefit from the money its pelt will bring, so she kills with an ash arrow and very little regret, despite her childhood’s warnings not to entangle with faeries, especially since they once held her people as slaves. But that is precisely the type of creature she decidedly kills, an emissary of a High Lord of one of the fairy kingdoms, who is bound to require payment: life for life. Yet Feyre never imagined the beauty of the fairy realms, or the new life she finds herself dragged into, especially the High Lord himself, the powerful and attractive Tamlin. Reminiscent of the original beauty and the beast fairy tale in an intricate world of power, A Court of Thorns and Roses is an alluring dark fantasy that burns like a wildfire, where no creature or story is what they seem to be.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did it fall to Feyre to take care of her family, instead of Nesta or her father? Why did both sisters feel it was their duty to protect Elain?
  2. Why did Feyre consider thoughts about “color and light and shape” to be the “useless part” of her mind? How much did painting mean to her?
  3. How did Feyre and Isaac understand each other, and what was the “darkness running beneath it all that had drawn [them] to each other”?
  4. What were the parts of living at the Spring Court that were hardest for Feyre to accept at first? What things changed to make it easier for her, especially when thinking about her family?
  5. What reason did Tamlin initially give for being so generous to Feyre? To her family? What were his other reasons?
  6. Why was it difficult for Feyre to reveal to Tamlin “that part of me that was still a child, unfinished and raw”? How did not knowing some words, and her list, become something special between them? How did someone else learning of it nearly kill her later?
  7. What was the first false vow Feyre ever swore? Why did she, to a dying faerie? Was it the right thing, or a merciful thing to do?
  8. Was that perhaps when Feyre started to really see the similarities between humans and faeries, when she admitted that she wouldn’t want to die alone, or would want to have someone hold her hand until the end, faerie or human?
  9. Why did human joy fascinate an immortal like Tamlin, “the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is...entrancing. I’m drawn to it, even when I know I shouldn’t be”?
  10. Why was Feyre so restless, both in the Spring Court or back in the village with her family?
  11. What is a glamour and why would they be used? Why didn’t it work on Rhysand or Nesta?
  12. What is Amarantha’s story that makes her a legend and nightmare?
  13. What are the three trials and what was the result of each?
  14. What deal did Feyre make with Rhysand and why did she, despite Alis’ warning? In what ways did he help her or Tamlin?
  15. What is the answer to the riddle?

The Recipe

Feyre was able to eat a bit of lemon tart on the sensual Fire Night, and strawberry shortcake on the night of the solstice. But chocolate was served as dessert at her first meal in the Spring Court, and Alis often gave her a molten chocolate drink. To combine these ingredients with the bright flavors and colors of spring flowers, as well as the shades of Tamlin’s golden hair and Lucien’s red hair, I chose to represent the Spring Court with a recipe for:

White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

"Spring Court" White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

a-court-of-thorns-and-roses-book-discussion-and-recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced small
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice (about 3 tbsp)

"Spring Court" White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

a-court-of-thorns-and-roses-book-discussion-and-recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine one stick of butter (1/2 cup) with the granulated sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed for about two minutes. Sift together flour with baking powder and soda. When the sugars and butter are creamed together, drop the mixer speed to low and add the sour cream, milk, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and the eggs, one at a time.
  2. When the egg yolks are all broken, add in the flour mixture, about a third at a time. After the second installment, stop the mixer to scrape down the insides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and allow them to combine again with the last bit of flour for one to two more minutes on low. In another bowl, gently fold the diced strawberries and white chocolate chips into the remaining tablespoon and a half of flour. Fold these into the mixed batter. Then scoop the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins and bake for 17-19 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean of any raw batter, only crumbs.
  3. For the frosting, using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer on medium-low speed, combine the remaining butter with half the powdered sugar, the last teaspoon of vanilla extract, the lemon zest, and about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Whisk for one minute on medium speed, then stop the mixer to add in the rest of the powdered sugar, the milk, and another tablespoon and a half of lemon juice (or whatever is left). Whisk for two minutes on medium-high speed. Pipe onto cupcakes that have cooled for 20 minutes or more. Keep refrigerated if not using immediately, but serve at room temperature. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

Rate the Recipe

"Spring Court" White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

a-court-of-thorns-and-roses-book-discussion-and-recipe

Similar Books

Other books by Sarah J. Maas are the next ones in this series, starting with A Court of Mist and Fury. Another series of hers is the Throne of Glass Series, and the prequel to that series, The Assassin’s Blade.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a fantasy war/love story reminiscent of the Beauty and the Beast tale as well, with a young female forced to live in a castle and learn magic at the hands of a dark wizard known as the Dragon.

Alphabet of Thorn by the brilliant veteran of fantasy Patricia McKillip, is about warring kingdoms, legends of great power, overcoming obstacles and learning about magic, filled with poetic language and gorgeously described landscapes and ancient ruins.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones is another fantasy romance about a girl who has known the goblin-king since a child and once made a vow to be his queen underground, not knowing the heartache and desire she would find there. She also has a complex family dynamic and a powerful tie to music, rather than painting.

The same level of drama, suspense, and romance in a historical fiction setting can be found in the delightfully long Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, book one of a three-part series.

Notable Quotes

“In our world where we’d forgotten the names of our gods, a promise was law; a promise was currency; a promise was your bond.”

“We need hope as much as we need bread and meat.”

“With a sort of darkness running beneath it all that had drawn us to each other, that shared understanding of how wretched our lives were and would always be.”

“Nesta had always known and hated that she and I were two sides fo the same coin, and that I could fight my own battles.”

“I wouldn’t want to die alone...I’d want someone to hold my hand until the end...That’s something everyone deserves, human or faerie.”

“Your human joy fascinates me—the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is...entrancing. I’m drawn to it, even when I know I shouldn’t be, even when I try not to be.”

“It took me a long while to realize that Rhysand, whether he knew it or not, had effectively kept me from shattering completely.”

“There was such a thing as Fate...because Fate had kept me alive just to get to this point, just to see if I had been listening.”

“When the legends get written, I didn’t want to be remembered for standing on the sidelines. I want my future offspring to know that I was there...I didn’t want you to fight alone. Or die alone.”

“Be glad of your human heart...Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

© 2018 Amanda Leitch

Comments

Naude Lorenzo on May 19, 2018:

A very interesting book, it keeps you reading, you can't put it down; and of course the recipe for this cup cake, awesome. we already tried it today. Thanks Amanda.

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