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by Justin Reed
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However Long the Day
by Justin Reed
Genre: Historical Fiction

However Long the Day is the tale of two strangers—Niall Donovan, a poor immigrant from Ireland, and Frederick Philips, a rich ne’er-do-well from New York’s Upper East Side—who discover they look so similar they could be twins. Frederick, desperate to avoid a lecture from his father, bribes Niall to switch places for the evening. Niall finds there’s more to the story than Frederick let on, and is dragged through the turbulence created by World War I, the Spanish Flu, and social upheaval, and into the corrupt belly of Manhattan on the cusp of Prohibition.

As Niall and Frederick hurtle through the next twenty-four hours, will either get what they bargained for?

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Justin Reed lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and four children. He was a
software engineer and executive for fifteen years before he began his
writing career. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family
and friends, volunteering at his church, fly fishing, and agreeing to
his wife’s requests to take selfies in front of libraries.


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However Long the Day Discussion Questions

However Long the Day will be released in a few days. I’m grateful and apprehensive to be at the point where I found out whether others see value in my work over the past few years.

I hope However Long the Day generates talk. And I don’t mean publicity and/or hype, while those would be nice. I mean talk between people who have a book in common. Talk that extracts non-fictional meaning from fictional characters and scenes. Debate that enlivens the reading experience and sparks the imagination.

It’s a lot to hope, especially for a novel with the pace of a thriller. Maybe my real hope is readers will see beyond the action and into the stuff that caused the action. 

I wrote some book group discussion questions to help with this. They’re all open ended, and meant to spur debate, especially about pie vs. cake (you’ll see):

    1. Niall and Frederick discover they are doppelgängers, and both are disarmed by the experience in their own way. How would a doppelgänger (or an actual twin) change our vision of ourselves? Have you ever met your doppelgänger?
    2. If you were in Niall or Frederick’s shoes, and happened to meet your doppelgänger, what do you hope they would be? Into what situation would you most like to swap?
    3. Discuss the role father’s play in the lives of Niall, Frederick, Flora, and Ida. How were the main characters shaped by their relationships with their fathers? How has your own growth and experience changed your perception of adults that shaped your youth?
    4. A single, dramatic twenty-four hours altered the course of the main characters’ lives. Have there been short seasons in your life—short bursts of action—that have formed your own character?
    5. How were the circumstances of 1918 similar to today? What can we learn? How can we improve?
    6. Niall discovered there was more to Barneby’s mansion than he first saw. This is similar to some of the characters in the book. As However Long the Day unfolded, which characters, connections, and/or relationships surprised you most? Bothered you? Satisfied you?
    7. What “purpose” did each of the main characters have, and how did their goals motivate their actions? Do any of the characters’ actions seem at odds with their stated motives? What compromises do the characters make in their pursuits, and why do you think they made them? Which characters got what they deserved, and which didn’t?
    8. Consider Thaddeus and Lucille’s plotline. Are they motivated by the same emotions? How does the line blur between their respective motives?
    9. If you were presented with the possibility of starting a new life (maybe even taking a new name), would you take it? Why or why not? And in what circumstances? What would you keep from your current life, and what would you discard?
    10. A number of characters have an ongoing discussion about the relative merits of cake versus pie, going so far as to imply one must either like cake, or pie, but not both. This fallacy is an example of false dichotomy. False Dichotomy asserts two things are more at odds than they really are and is the frequent tool of marketers, politicians, and online commenters. Discuss examples of false dichotomy in However Long the Day as well as our modern lives. And don’t dodge the question: cake, or pie?


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I am Fee, a 30 -something SAHM bookworm! I love to read, and will read almost anything and everything. I am not afraid to try new genres of books and my main genre is horror, thriller.

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