The Dialogue Society Book Group – Meeting 49: The Secret Life of Sunflowers by Marta Molnar

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend


In this session of the Dialogue Society Book Group, we will explore The Secret Life of Sunflowers by Marta Molnar on Friday, 12th January 2024.


When Hollywood auctioneer Emsley Wilson finds her famous grandmother’s diary while cleaning out her New York brownstone, the pages are full of surprises. The first surprise is that the diary isn’t her grandmother’s. It belongs to Johanna Bonger, Vincent van Gogh’s sister-in-law.

Johanna inherited Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. They were all she had, and they weren’t worth anything. She was a 28-year-old widow with a baby in the 1800s, without any means of supporting herself, living in Paris, where she barely spoke the language. Yet she managed to introduce Vincent’s legacy to the world.

The inspiration couldn’t come at a better time for Emsley. With her business failing, an unexpected love turning up in her life, and family secrets unravelling, can she find answers in the past?

This book draws all the emotions out of you. I went from tears to snorting with laughter. It was both light-hearted and heartbreaking, yet it inspired me to live my best life!

Michelle Cox

This book was so much more than I had expected, and I had high expectations… one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in years.

Kaela Stokes

It touched something in my soul.

Audrey McDonald

About the Dialogue Society Book Group

The Dialogue Society Book Group explores the capacity of books to provide windows into different cultural and intercultural worlds. We will be choosing a series of quality novels to read and then discuss together at relaxed, sociable gatherings at the Dialogue Society. Participants are welcome to suggest books for future sessions.

Participants will need to find a copy of the book chosen for each meeting and will need to read it prior to the meeting.

We will have a conversation about the book and our responses to it. Discussion may cover:

  • the quality of the storytelling
  • the authenticity and accuracy with which a historical/cultural situation is portrayed
  • our personal responses to it

You do not need to be an expert on literature or anything else to join in. The group should be enjoyable for anyone who enjoys a good book and likes discovering new ones.

Prospective books for future sessions (NB we are open to suggestions)

  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder 
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Wheel of Time: New Spring by Robert Jordan
  • Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed
  • Darius the Great is not Okay by Adib Khorram