"The Forgotten Book" Discussion and Easy Sugar Doughnut Recipe
Emma goes to a boarding school in a renovated castle in Stolzenburg, Germany, where a handsome but stuck-up boy named Darcy—whose family owns the school—has come to visit, searching for clues to his twin sister’s disappearance four years ago. She didn’t care to give him much attention and preferred the grounds boy Frederick instead, until Darcy one day started spilling facts about his sister. Not that it was his fault, Emma had written that she wished for that very thing, in an old book she found in the abandoned library—a book she thought was just a journal used by others who’d lived in the castle. But then everything she writes in the book begins to come true, even metaphoric things like someone being attacked by a lion. And under the ruins in the woods beside the castle, there lies a secret tunnel with passages, and an old statue of a faun, much like the one in the fairy tale written in the book.
Emma will need the help of her friends, and even a couple enemies, to fix the library, find the real faun, and solve the castle’s mysteries before evil strikes again through the power of the magic book. is a fun young adult fantasy mystery, perfect for anyone who loves Jane Austen, classic literature retellings, or castles filled with secrets. The Forgotten Book
Perfect for fans of
- Beauty and the Beast
- Pride and Prejudice or Emma by Jane Austen
- YA fiction
- Fantasy fiction
- Gothic fiction
- Fairy tales
- Classic literature retellings
Why did Emma’s literature club begin by watching films? Which one did they start with? Should book clubs watch movies too?
What was Emma’s “throwaway remark” that led to a lion appearing on the school grounds?
What were some of the ways that things Emma wrote in the book did not work out the way she suspected or desired? What things did work out for the best?
What do you think about Emma’s father’s philosophy in raising her, that “It is important to give children the space to find their own place in the world”? Was he too hands-off with her?
Do you think Darcy was jealous of Frederick taking Emma out to the pub, or some other emotion? Why did it take Emma so long to see it?
What did you think of the fairy tale “A Faun’s Dream”?
What did the faun eat instead of food?
What happened when Emma tried to draw a line through words she’d already written in the chronicle?
What did the Earl do with all the enchanted books that had been made for him? How many were there in total? What was the catalyst for his destroying of them?
What was the other, secret way into the west wing library?
How did Emma cheer up her father using a medicine cabinet? What types of odd things do you think might cheer up the other characters? Do you have anything like that that calms or cheers you up?
What was Miss Whitfield’s real name and story?
What happened to Gina and how did the book come true, but not in an expected way?
What happened to the book and Miss Whitfield at the end? Do you think that was what she wanted?
When the dining hall was being decorated for the school’s 190th alumni reunion and the annual Autumn ball, Miss Berkenbeck brought out doughnuts for the volunteers setting up. “The doughnuts were plump and golden-brown and dusted with icing sugar that looked like the first snow of winter settling on the castle battlements.”
Easy Sugared Doughnuts
- 1 can premade buttermilk biscuits, (not jumbo, not flaky)
- About 1 cup frying oil, (preferably canola or vegetable oil)
- 3/4-1 cup powdered or granulated sugar
Other doughnut topping options
Other doughnut topping options are a glaze, or a mix of cinnamon and regular granulated sugar. For the cinnamon/sugar mix, stir together 1 tablespoon cinnamon with 1/4-1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl (depending on how strong you like your cinnamon), then transfer to a plate. Roll the doughnuts in the mixture while still hot from the oil, using two forks or a set of tongs (not your fingers!) to touch the hot doughnuts.
For the glaze, combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a shallow bowl. Stir with a whisk or spoon to combine fully. Set aside for dipping hot fried doughnuts in.
These are a fun, colorful set, but be sure to use the longest ones!
- Heat oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly bubbly, at least five minutes. Set up your topping plate, whether with powdered sugar, or as mentioned below, cinnamon sugar, or glaze (in a bowl) by pouring the amount of sugar on to the plate and gently, lightly shake it to spread out the topping on the plate so you can place the donuts on them later. Have this plate on a counter near the frying pan (but not on the stove), along with another clean, empty plate to put the finished product on. Get a set of long tongs (preferably 12 inch) or two long forks to use to flip the donuts.
- Open tube of biscuits, and poke a hole in the center of each one with your finger, or cut them out with a small apple corer, if you wish. Pull the centers so they are at least as wide as a quarter, and flatten out the thickest parts so the donut is a similar thickness all around (the centers will shrink while resting on the plate). Set aside these prepped donuts on a third clean plate.
- Depending on the size of your frying pan, you can fry 1-2 donuts at a time with a small pan, but unless you’re using a large pan, I don’t recommend frying more than that at a time. It takes a little longer in a small pan, but you need time to toss each donut in the sugar mix, and you don’t want any donuts in the oil to burn while they’re waiting. So if you’re going to fry more than one at once, stagger the times. Put them in the oil about fifteen seconds apart, no matter how many you decide to fry at once.
- Once the oil is hot, the donuts are prepped, and you have a sugar dipping plate or glaze bowl, and your tongs or forks, use them to gently place your first donut in the oil. Fry it for thirty-forty seconds per side (I used regular sized biscuits, not jumbo—if you use jumbo, you definitely need to cut out a large center circle and flatten the donuts so they won’t have raw dough in the center, and cook them longer per side.). When the thirty seconds are up, use tongs or two forks (one on each end of the donut) to flip it and fry the other side. You want a deep golden-brown color on each side. Once it gets that color on both sides, remove it from the oil using forks or tongs and immediately place it on the topping plate. Flip it in the sugar or glaze, coating both sides. Then transfer it to the clean, empty plate. Continue with each donut until you’ve fried and coated each one. Makes 10 small doughnuts.
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Other books in English by Mechthild Glasser include the bestseller The Book Jumper, about a girl who has the power to jump inside a book and interact with its characters and world.
This book was heavily influenced by two works of Jane Austen: Emma, and Pride and Prejudice, with similar quotes, characters, and themes across all three novels.
The last name de Winter possibly came from a main character’s name in the classic Gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Similar to both of these books is The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, also a haunted Gothic fiction about a castle, a creature, and old stories.
This story is also similar to the tale about Beauty and the Beast. Some other modern re-tellings of it are Hunted by Meagan Spooner, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Beauty or Rose Daughter both by Robin McKinley, The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey, and In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Boddard.
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon is a suspense thriller with elements of magic, long dark underground tunnels, and a house with a secret history. Another book of hers, Don’t Breathe a Word, includes magic and the king of the fairies.
Frederick suggested that someone in the lab was trying to find the philosopher’s stone. A wonderful, world-famous magic story about a boy and a philosopher’s or sorcerer’s stone is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The Paper Magician is also about magic, paper and words, and is set in a fictional world where magic is real.
“It was a place seemingly untouched by time, as if the decades simply blew past like leaves in the wind.”
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that returning home after a long absence is one of the best feelings in the world.”
“It looked like a perfectly ordinary book, the same as hundreds or possibly thousands of others in this castle.”
“When a girl is destined to be a heroine, Fate will lead her to the very thing that makes that heroism possible.”
“Something of me will live on, even after my body has returned to dust.”
“It is important to give children the space to find their own place in the world.”
“There are eerie tales that tell of an ancient creature living in the catacombs beneath the castle.”
“Tonight my resolve was greater than my fear.”
“Every castle worth its salt has its own ghost story.”
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Amanda Leitch