printed copy

The Gin & Chowder Club

Nan Rossiter

ISBN 9780758246677
Publish Date 5/31/2011
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Women's Fiction, Kensington
List Price: $15.00

Set against the beautiful backdrop of Cape Cod, The Gin & Chowder Club is an eloquent, tender story of friendship, longing, and the enduring power of love…

The friendship between the Coleman and Shepherd families is as old and comfortable as the neighboring houses they occupy each summer on Cape Cod. Samuel and Sarah Coleman love those warm months by the water; the evenings spent on their porch, enjoying gin and tonics, good conversation and homemade clam chowder. Here they’ve watched their sons, Isaac and Asa, grow into fine young men, and watched, too, as Nate Shepherd, aching with grief at the loss of his first wife, finally found love again with the much younger Noelle.

But beyond the surface of these idyllic gatherings, the growing attraction between Noelle and handsome, college-bound Asa threatens to upend everything. In spite of her guilt and misgivings, Noelle is drawn into a reckless secret affair with far-reaching consequences. And over the course of one bittersweet, unforgettable summer, Asa will learn more than he ever expected about love—the joys and heartache it awakens in us, the lengths we’ll go to keep it, and the countless ways it can change our lives forever…

“Eloquent and surprising…I loved this story of faith, love, and the lasting bonds of family.” —Ann Leary, author of Outtakes from a Marriage

“Nostalgic and tender…summons the passion of first love, the pain of first loss, and the unbreakable bonds of family that help us survive both.” —Marie Bostwick, New York Times Bestselling Author


1. From the very beginning the reader is aware that there is a strong physical attraction between Noelle and Asa. Are there any other (subconscious) factors that might have contributed to Noelle initiating an intimate relationship?

2. Asa has been raised to have a strong faith in God. He knows right from wrong and he struggles with the immorality of his desire for Noelle. Despite his faith and good conscience, he shamelessly betrays his father’s best friend. How does this happen?

3. Noelle professes to love both Nate and Asa. Is it possible to truly love two people? Is it possible to be unfaithful to someone you truly love?

4. At what point do you think Nate suspects that the relationship between Noelle and Asa has become intimate? Do you think he is ever certain? Why doesn’t he confront her?

5. Noelle struggles with overwhelming guilt and remorse. In her mind, how does she justify her actions?

6. What are some clues in the text that might lead the reader to surmise that Noah cannot be Nate’s son?

7. After Noelle dies in childbirth, Asa turns his back on God. Is he angry with God or angry at himself? Is anyone to blame for the tragedy? Does God punish sin, or does He bless us in spite of sin?

8. Nate loves Noah and raises him as his own. Why does he do this? What does it say about his character?

9. At what point do you think Samuel and Sarah suspect that Noah is Asa’s son? Can you imagine their conversation?

10. Asa sees Nate for the last time at Isaac’s wedding reception. After seeing a picture of Noah, Asa tearfully excuses himself, but Nate stops him and says, “It’s okay.” What does he mean when he says this?

11. After reading Noelle’s letter, do you think she was planning to leave Nate? If so, why did she go back home?

12. In the end, Asa discovers that he is already forgiven— and blessed! Do you think he will be a good father?

13. Are the lives of Asa and Noah—and Maddie—potential book material???

About Nan Rossiter:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks—especially her first novel, The Gin & Chowder Club. Nan’s second novel, Words Get In The Way, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, More Than You Know, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer’s. Under A Summer Sky ties the first three books together in an unexpected way, and Nantucket touches on the difference time can make, the truths that never alter, and the bittersweet second chances that arrive just in time to steer a heart back home. Her new novel Firefly Summer is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow the deepest heartaches.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, The Fo’c’sle: Henry Beston’s Outermost House, called "a lovely vision of one man's communion with nature" by Publisher's Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, two handsome sons, and a black Lab named Finnegan.

To learn more visit

Average Customer Review

Based on 3 reviews

Customer Review

“A Gripping Tale Hotter Than the Chowder” (Sunday, August 26, 2012)
Reviewer: Nancy Narma

The friendship between the Colemans and the Shepherds span many years and countless summers as neighbors on Cape Cod. Samuel Coleman and Nate Shepherd continued the businesses of their Father and Grandfather; Coleman and Son Fine Woodworking and Shepherd’s Accounting Firm. Samuel had also kept up the weekend ritual of “The Gin and Chowder Club”. Everyone looked forward to their warm hospitality, the friendly gathering and Sam’s signature Clam Chowder and Gin and Tonics! Sam and Sarah’s sons; Isaac and Asa, grew up in the summer shadows of the lighthouse and now both are college-bound. They had all watched as Nate’s beloved wife; Annie valiantly fought but lost her battle with a horrific illness, leaving Nate lost and alone. Blinded by sorrow and grief, he had not noticed Annie’s beautiful, young Nurse; Noelle, until a chance meeting some months later that led to a cup of coffee and a blossoming romance. Noelle knew, even though he was quite a bit older than she, that Nate was a good, caring and kind man, but after they married, Noelle couldn’t help but feel Nate was “:living the dream with Annie” through her. She longed for excitement and children. Although she was blessed with everything she could ever hope for, (A lovely house in Boston, the summer place on the Cape, etc.) her two dreams eluded her. When Asa was younger, he had always admired Noelle from afar, but as he matured, his feelings deepened into something undeniable. As much as Noelle tried to place her feelings for youthful Asa “on a shelf”, she finally had to admit their existence to Asa and herself. What had started as harmless and innocent but cherished joking and long talks about nothing and everything, soon turned into intimacy. But what about Nate?? Was it possible to love two men at the same time?? Noelle didn’t want to crush Nate’s world and Asa didn’t want to hurt his parents. Despite the feelings of betrayal of the friendship he and Nate had shared for, what seemed like forever, Asa cannot deny his love and longing for Noelle. He now dreaded going away to college. They couldn’t and wouldn’t be together. Perhaps her feeling for him would change in the absence? Always hanging like a dark cloud overhead was the frightening chance that Nate would find out. Asa decided he would do anything to be with Noelle, even if only for a fleeting moment or glimpse. What would his parents say?? He wasn’t raised to ignore or put his own spin on the Commandments his folks had so lovingly instilled within him. Isaac was in college also and had his moments as a hell-raiser, taking dares and chances, but never quiet, almost introverted, poetic Asa!! Ms. Rossiter has done it once again. She has pulled me into this heart-throbbing drama on Cape Cod until I can practically smell the bubbling chowder and feel a part of the gathering. Your stomach will lurch with the apprehension and inner turmoil both Asa and Noelle experience. You’ll shed tears as some heart-wrenching dramas play out. Will Asa overcome his all-encompassing love for Noelle? Or will love conquer Asa? Will Noelle leave the ever-trusting and understanding Nate? There was only one thing wrong with this book---I wanted more, more, more!!! I’m hoping there will be a sequel coming in the near future continuing the Coleman saga. In the meantime, I heartily recommend that you read another of Ms. Rossiter’s titles, “ Words Get in the Way”. Believe me when I say you won’t be disappointed in either one. Nancy Narma

Gin and Chowder (Saturday, June 4, 2011)
Reviewer: Nikki

A story that tests the boundaries of family and friendships.... The book is beautifully written, but I have some issues with the plot itself. This is just how I feel about it.

I love the strong family closeness. Asa and Isaac grew up in a loving home, with supportive parents, and they lived a good life. But what bothers me is the affair that happens in this book. Between Asa, who is just coming into his manhood and ready to start his adult life, and Noelle, a young nurse who is married to a much older man. Yes, she loves Nathan, who is a close family friend Asa and his family, but there are things that Nathan can't give to Noelle, and as deep as her love is for him, she has a longing for things. It starts with forbidden looks, and feelings, which develop into so much more.
And the ending, well, that just didn't do it for me. I never saw it coming, but I didn't like how it ended, either.

I must say Nan Rossiter has a way of taking delicate situations and putting them out there. The characters breathe life right out of the pages.

If you enjoy a fiction book that delves into the complications of relationships and bonds of family, then you may just like this book.

Highly Recommend (Wednesday, June 1, 2011)
Reviewer: marianne

I really liked this book. After reading the description, not knowing the author I was skeptical, but it was so emotional, the characters so real and the story just kept you riveted. This is a love story and a tragedy and it is told so beautifully that you do not find yourself judging the inappropriate things that people did in the book, rather reading faster and faster to see how it turns out. I highly recommend this book.

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