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Forge Your Own Book Club: The Widow Queen by Elżbieta Cherezińska

The bold one, they call her—too bold for most. To her father, the great duke of Poland, Świętosława and her two sisters represent three chances for an alliance. Three marriages on which to build his empire. But Świętosława refuses to be simply a pawn in her father’s schemes; she seeks a throne of her own, with no husband by her side. The gods may grant her wish, but crowns sit heavy, and power is a sword that cuts both ways.

The Widow Queen tells the story of a powerful woman that has gone untold for too long. Fans of history, epic adventure and bold heroines will find everything they want and more! If you’re planning on reading this epic historical tale with your book club, read on for our recommendations on what food, drink, and music you should have to accompany your discussion, as well as what to talk about and what to read next! 


What to drink:

Boozy book clubs are in luck for this Polish adventure. Pick up a bottle of Polish vodka like Belvedere or Polish beer like Żywiec and serve either ice cold. Book clubs who prefer a non-alcoholic will be thrilled to try kompot. It’s a fruity and refreshing drink that’s so easy to make. We have suggested some fruits below, but this recipe would be delicious with any number of other fruits!

5 plums

  • 3 cups of cherries
  • 3 cups of blueberries
  • 1 gal of water
  • 3/4 cup of sugar or to taste

Instructions:

  • Bring 1 gal of water to a boil.
  • As water begins to boil, add fruit and bring water back to a boil.
  • Lower heat and let the mixture boil for 30 min uncovered.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of sugar or to taste.
  • Let kompot cool completely, strain off the juice and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

What to eat:

There’s no greater tribute to polish cuisine than a plate full of Polish sausage and pierogies. If your book club is looking for a less hearty meal remember, bagels originated in Poland! 

What to listen to:

A playlist of the piano pieces by Polish composer Frédéric Chopin is the perfect background music for your discussion.

What to discuss:

Download the Widow Queen Reading Group Guide for insightful questions to get the discussion going.

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What to read next:

If you’re interested in reading more Polish literature in translation, we highly recommend Flights by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk or Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski, the inspiration for the Netflix series The Witcher. For more thrilling takes on historical fiction, you can’t go wrong with Nottingham and Lionhearts by Nathan Makaryk, The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker or Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King.

Order Your Copy of The Widow Queen—Available Now!

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