Book Club Notes: With Love from the Inside

The surprises that await me each time we meet are just one of the many joys of the Wine Lovers Book Club. Our meeting for With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel was no exception. From awesome food and wine to varying perspectives about the book, there were lots of “oohhhhs” and “huh, hadn’t thought of it that way” utterances.

Preparing for your own club discussion of With Love from the Inside? Be sure to catch my book review and expansion pack for additional inspiration!

(Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

Thanksgiving in February

If you read my With Love from the Inside: Expansion Pack, you’ll know that other book clubs have focused on the prison theme when meeting to discuss the book. We did a bit of that too (see below), but @thefunnylittle1 went in a holiday direction to set the mood.

Because a few of the scenes took place during Thanksgiving, she decorated the table with mustard yellow napkins and acorn and berry napkin rings before filling it with delectable Thanksgiving favorites: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, warm rolls, and the best green beans I’ve ever eaten (the secret: Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning, lots of butter, and bacon!).

The Wine Lovers Book Club enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast and decor while discussing Angela Pisel's With Love from the Inside.

The feasting didn’t end there. Death row inmate Grace Bradshaw passes along her chicken soup recipe to daughter Sophie in the book, and @thefunnylittle1 cleverly spun off that idea to make for us the cranberry orange cake that has become our family tradition during the holidays. The best part? We are passing the recipe along to you at the end of this post!

My status: feeling thankful.

Wine to Liberate Your Palate

Remember the prison theme I mentioned earlier? Turns out there are a lot of wines that are labeled to fit the law and order bill.

Reds: Orin Swift’s The Prisoner, one of my favorites (~$40), Insurrection Red Blend (~$10), Tribunal Red Wine (~$10)

Whites:  19 Crimes Hard Chardonnay (~$9), Butternut Chardonnay (~$13; this one is more of a Thanksgiving-themed wine)

Of course, you can also do like Sophie’s book club and serve champagne. @thefunnylittle1 greeted us with flutes of local favorite Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling. Yum.

Wines served at the With Love from the Inside Book Club include The Prisoner and Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling.

About the Book

A departure from our more uniform reaction to Hiddensee, half of us Really Liked (4 Stars) With Love from the Inside, and the other half rated it between Okay (2 Stars) and Liked (3 Stars). We all agreed that the book was easy to read and kept our attention until the end.

Pros: Great moral conflict; clear writing that made for a quick read; some good twists; several different stories within a story; the exploration of family dynamics, especially the mother-daughter relationship between Grace and Sophie; interesting subject matter in the portrayal of a woman on death row and her interactions with other inmates and guards

Cons: Some threads/lines were implausible or unresolved; some characters were a bit one-dimensional; writing was flat at times

Favorite quote from our discussion: Grace’s inspirational quotes for Sophie reminded one of the ladies of the way families develop a language of their own. For example, when it was time to leave, her uncle often said, “Let’s make like horse {poo} and hit the road.”

Cranberry Orange Cake Recipe

Sandy Burkett’s cake recipe is fantastic on its own, but to really make it {sing}, be sure to add sugared cranberries on top for a burst of tart goodness.

Cranberry orange cake for our book club discussion of With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel

Titles Mentioned

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