About the Author
Radha Vatsal grew up in Mumbai, India, and came to the United States to attend boarding school when she was sixteen. She has stayed here ever since. Her fascination with the 1910s began when she studied women filmmakers and action-film heroines of silent cinema at Duke University, where she earned her Ph.D. from the English Department. A Front Page Affair is her first novel. Radha lives with her husband and two daughters in New York City.
Reading Group Guide
1. Do you think Kitty is the kind of person who fits in wherever she is? Why or why not? What is it about her that allows her to fit in (or not)?
2. In what ways does Kitty’s financial status enable her to move about society?
3. How does Kitty’s father’s background influence his behavior and affect his and Kitty’s relationship? How does their relationship influence how Kitty investigates?
4. What drives Kitty’s friendship with Amanda Vanderwell? What do you think Kitty gets out of her relationship with Amanda, and vice versa?
5. What are the characteristics of some of the powerful, independent women we meet and hear about in the novel? Think of Mrs. Basshor, Anne Morgan, Miss Busby, Mary Pickford, and Pearl White. How are they similar? How are they different?
6. Why do you think Miss Busby suffered a nervous breakdown? How might this be related to her hopes, expectations, and possible disappointment in Kitty?
7. How does Jeannie Williams feel about Kitty?
8. Do you think Aimee Cole genuinely likes Kitty, or does she try to turn her into a sympathetic ally for her own purposes?
9. Do you find the revelation about Hotchkiss’s sexuality surprising? Do you think his contemporaries would have made similar assumptions about him as modern readers might?
10. Do you see Soames as a viable romantic interest for Kitty? What about him makes him a good match for her? What aspects of his life and career might prove problematic for a future relationship between them?
11. In her films, Pearl White plays an active heroine who never gives up but often has to be rescued from perilous situations. Are you surprised that those types of heroines existed a hundred years ago? How are they different (and similar) to action heroines today?
12. Jeannie, Kitty, and Amanda inhabit different but overlapping worlds. If you could live in one of their shoes for a day, which one would you chose, and why?
13. How did Dr. Albert’s plan to infect the horses meet or defy your expectations of German warfare, especially compared to the torpedoing of the Lusitania?
14. In what ways does Kitty’s world seem not dissimilar to our own? In what ways does it seem old-fashioned?