READER’S GUIDE TO
s . e . c . r . e . t
about the book
Widowed at a young age after a disastrous marriage, Cassie Robichaud has settled into a quiet life with narrow boundaries: the restaurant where she works, the “Spinster Hotel” where she lives, and the sad, constant awareness of how long it has been since she has been with a man. Cassie moves through her daily routine clad in bleak practicality—hair in a hasty ponytail, sensible work shoes, stained shirt—escaping only briefly with a run through her neighborhood, chats with her boss and friend, Will, and a voyeur’s longing for the romantic happiness that seems to come so easily to her patrons. When one of them leaves behind a notebook full of salacious sexual details, Cassie gets her first glimpse into a new world of sexual empowerment. . . . And her first introduction to the unusual sorority that will transform her life. Dedicated to passion, pleasure, and sensual discovery, S.E.C.R.E.T. is all about women living their sexual lives to the fullest. . . . And for Cassie, it’s the key to sexual emancipation at last.
read no further if you have not finished reading S.E.C.R.E.T.
questions for discussion
1. What compelled you to read this book?
2. How does the book fit in with modern popular erotica? Have you read other books with a similarly sexual theme? How does this one compare?
3. Did you enjoy the writing? What constitutes good writing in this genre? Do you hold it to the same standards as other novels or popular fiction?
4. How do you imagine the spark between Will and Cassie first occurred? Why is she so reluctant to date him during the years of their friendship? Do you think they would make a good couple?
5. What qualities do the members of S.E.C.R.E.T. see in Cassie that make her an appealing candidate? Do you agree with their assessment? Why do you think they are so sure of her acceptance of their offer?
6. How have Cassie’s experiences with her father and husband shaped her view of men and relationships? Does her opinion of men change during the course of the book?
7. During her ski trip, Cassie reflects on the sacrifices she made for Scott and the ways in which she gave up—or never explored—her own passions in order to please him. Has she begun to more fully explore her own interests through her year with S.E.C.R.E.T.? What is she discovering about herself, and what (if anything) do you think she still needs to discover?
8. Do you think the “steps” in the S.E.C.R.E.T. process are intended to improve a woman’s overall life, or is the focus strictly sexual? How does Cassie’s experience with sexual liberation change her outlook on her day-to-day life?
9. Do you think that organizations like S.E.C.R.E.T. exist in the real world? Would you be surprised to learn of such a group in your town?
10. Cassie begins to recognize the “strange reciprocity” of her S.E.C.R.E.T. encounters. Do you think there is more to the male side of the story of S.E.C.R.E.T.? How do you imagine the recruitment of the men works? What do you think each of the men hopes to gain? Why would each of them have agreed to the arrangement?
11. Who do you imagine the hip-hop star to be?
12. Matilda described the S.E.C.R.E.T. men as “not the greatest life partners.” Do you think this quality makes them better candidates for the S.E.C.R.E.T. program?
13. Near the end of her year with S.E.C.R.E.T., Matilda asks Cassie to name her favorite partners. Were you surprised by Cassie’s choices? Was there one encounter (or partner) that seemed most interesting or erotic to you? Who would have made your shortlist?
14. On the night of the revue, why do you think Cassie let Jesse go? Do you think she will regret her decision? Would you have made the same choice?
15. At the end of the book, does Tracina know that Cassie and Will spent the night together? Do you think Will actually proposed to Tracina afterward? What do you think will happen to Will and Tracina next?