Reading Guides

Slow Dancing on Price's Pier
Lisa Dale
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Fifteen years ago, Garret Sorensens family, trust, and heart were destroyed when Thea Celik betrayed him and married his brother. Now that her marriage is ending in divorce, Garret finally feels free to mend his relationship with his brother and put the past behind him. But the quaint streets and bustling piers of Newport, Rhode Island, trigger a lot of memories—all leading back to Thea.

Navigating through the divorce, Thea struggles to keep things as peaceful as possible for her daughter. And shes not ready to let go of the Sorensens—the only family she has—even if it means being around Garret again and risking the return of her feelings for him. As they cautiously circle around each other—drawing together and moving apart—they both realize that if they follow their hearts, their already fragile family ties could be irreparably severed—casting them both adrift…


Lisa Dale believes there are few things better than curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. A nominee for Best New American Voices and The Pushcart Prize, Lisa lives in northern New Jersey with her fiancé.


  1. Discuss some of the most pertinent themes of "The Coffee Diaries" and how they relate to Thea's life.

  2. Thea has a long and somewhat complicated relationship with the Sorensens. While they are like family to her, do you think the way she has treated them—and the way they have treated her—has been completely acceptable? Discuss some of the difficulties that they've encountered in their relationship.

  3. Garret's playboy ways have kept him from settling down. Do you think that he is hopeful for a second chance with Thea, perhaps even before he realizes it, and this is what causes his change of heart?

  4. Do you think Thea and Jon settled for their marriage of "comfort and refuge"? Do you think if Garret had been honest with Thea that all their lives would have been different? Why or why not?

  5. After the divorce, Thea has "…an unsought opportunity—a second chance she didn't quite know she needed until now…" (p 152, ms). Discuss how this foreshadows her future encounter with Garret. Do you believe she was subconsciously seeking a second chance with him?

  6. Thea's consistent advice to Irina in a bleak situation is that "it's going to be ok," yet she seems to have difficulty believing that herself. Why do you think she has trouble following her own advice?

  7. Thea seems to be changing along with Newport's seasons. Discuss how this works in the larger context of the novel.

  8. Thea's columns preceding chapter 13 talk about how coffee is an acquired taste (p 222 ms). How is this a parallel to her life and what she is seeking now that she is divorced?

  9. Garret has been hard on himself his whole life and sees soccer and love as failures that changed his future entirely. Is the perfect veneer he's created for himself a shield to make up for the failure he believes he is, especially in love?

  10. Do you think Thea and Garret's relationship, from the beginning when they dated secretively, was destined to fail? Did everything that happened from the time they broke up to the time her marriage dissolved need to happen in order for them to find what was there all along?

  11. Thea's family has obviously always come first in her mind. Discuss some of the reasons you think she married Jonathan and what she expected from the marriage.

  12. Thea has a desire to think things through before she acts. Do you think she is missing out on life because of her need to not act impulsively?

  13. Do you think Thea is right to shun a drama-free love after her second chance with Garret doesn't pan out? Why or why not?

  14. Do you think Thea and Garret were being selfish in rekindling their love, or was it a chance they had to take? Why do you think it's hard for anyone in the family, until tragedy almost strikes, to fully understand how deep their love for each other runs?

  15. Is it necessary for Thea to give up on love for the sake of her family? Do you think it's selfish of them to force her and Garret's unhappiness?