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Recipe by the Book: Champagne Punch for Seating Arrangements

Raise a glass! Daphne Van Meter is getting married, and we’re all invited to the festivities in Maggie Shipstead’s novel, Seating Arrangements. Keenly intelligent, commandingly well written, and great fun, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy debut is a piercing rumination on love, family, and marriage.

The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to the impeccably appropriate Greyson Duff—but Winn Van Meter, father of the bride, is not having a good time. Barred from the exclusive social club he’s been eyeing since birth, he’s also tormented by an inappropriate crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid, Agatha, and the fear that his daughter, Livia—recently heartbroken by the son of his greatest rival—is a too-ready target for the wiles of Greyson’s best man. When old resentments, a beached whale and an escaped lobster are added to the mix, the wedding that should have gone off with military precision threatens to become a spectacle of misbehavior.

While your reading group discusses the lives of the well-bred and ill-behaved, serve them some of this refreshing champagne punch.

(If you have trouble viewing the recipe below, click here to view on Scribd.)