15 reviews

The Sugar Queen
by Sarah Addison Allen

Published: 2008-05-20
Hardcover : 288 pages
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23 clubs reading this now
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Recommended to book clubs by 12 of 15 members
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Discussion Questions

1. What keeps Josey from leaving home? What makes Adam stay in Bald Slope? In what ways do they feel the same about North Carolina and its landscape?
2. What has Josey hungered for throughout her life? What transformed her from a difficult child into a woman who hides her cravings?
3. Why does Margaret want to prevent the arrival of unexpected visitors? What fears are captured in her peppermint-oil ritual?
4. What are Julian's motivations in his pursuit of Chloe? How did your opinion of him shift throughout the novel?
5. In her conversation with Livia's granddaughter (chapter six), Josey suggests that Amelia might want to have a life of her own. Amelia immediately dismisses that idea. What enables Josey to free herself, rather than becoming like Amelia? Could Josey have done it without Della Lee?
6. How does money influence Josey's outlook on life? How did her father use it, through lavish parties and an eye-catching house, to get what he wanted? What was he not able to buy, no matter how wealthy he was?
7. Josey lives in a world of rules, from a neighborhood that bans snowmen to a mother who bans a snug red sweater. What is the purpose of these rules? What stifling rules in your life-at work, with your family, or in your community-do you sometimes dream of breaking?
8. Discuss Chloe's relationship to the world of books. What is the significance of the magical way they appear in her life, and the equally magical way she finds a house to call her own? How do books become a home for her?
9. What is Nova Berry's role in Bald Slope? How do her remedies-such as stinging nettle tea-compare to Josey's sweets?
10. How did Margaret's past shape her future? Who ultimately is to blame for standing in the way of her love for Rawley? How have notions of love and motherhood changed for Josey's generation?
11. How did you react when Della Lee's situation was revealed in the end? Have you ever been guided by the wisdom of someone like her?
12. Would you have forgiven Jake? How did you feel about him after you learned the identity of his lover?
13. How are Adam and Josey able to heal each other as their attraction grows? What does it take to propel Josey's crush beyond the realm of fantasy? When are they able to trust each other enough to have a real-world relationship?
14. What were your thoughts as Josey tore up the attorney's note aboard the ship? What do you believe it said? Are secrets ever useful in a family, or do they always result in pain?
15. What themes appear in both this novel and Sarah Addison Allen's debut, Garden Spells? What forms of mystical hope appear in both books?

Suggested by Members

Which of the main characters do you relate to the most?
If you could offer one word of advice to one of the girls, which one and what would it be?
How important was the role of the men in the book? How did they set the tone for relationships?
by cherylwilliams5 (see profile) 12/16/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

I confess: I am a candy addict. It's my comfort. My stress-reliever. I remember once, after a particularly bad day at work, I couldn't wait to get home to a new pack of red licorice I knew I had there. Seriously. I daydreamed about it all day. Visions of Twizzlers danced in my head. But for some, it's not candy but books that give comfort. For these people, it's the thought of that new release waiting for them on the night stand that gets them through the day. For others, stress-relief comes in the form of camaraderie with friends, looking forward to that upcoming girls' night out. I explore all three of these comforts, with a magical spin, in The Sugar Queen. There's a character in the novel who is so embarrassed by her passion for sweets that she feels she has to hide what she loves most. Another character mysteriously attracts books. And another strange character with a fairy godmother complex brings them all together to forge surprising friendships.

The nice symmetry here is that books, food and friendship are not just magical comforts found in The Sugar Queen - they are the magic behind every book club I've ever been a part of. It's not just the book discussion, it's the eating and the camaraderie, the magic that comes when three of life's greatest pleasures come together. Does it get any better than that?

Happy reading, and may your days be filled with delicious anticipation.

Book Club Recommendations

The Sugar Queen
by cherylwilliams5 (see profile) 12/16/12
Definitely meeting snacks should include peppermint and all things sweet. Members could dress in different ways to represent their choice of main character; pantyhose on the head, collage tee shirt of travel places, tiaras, all ladies wear red sweaters! Serve egg sandwiches.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Kim F. (see profile) 06/26/15

  "The Sugar Queen"by Cheryl W. (see profile) 12/16/12

The Sugar Queen started off slow and I was wondering if it was going to be a boring book. It did pick up as i continued to read and with just enough drama sprinkled in, it was able to hold my attention.... (read more)

  "magical"by Dawn S. (see profile) 11/19/12

A red sweater, a grilled cheese sandwich and a closet full of surprises. This book has become one of my favorite books of all time. Inspiring, funny, sad and joyous. The charactets are written in a... (read more)

  "The Sugar Queen"by Christina K. (see profile) 07/20/12

Imaginative - Magical and Sweet
Easy and enjoyable summer read

  "Sugar Queen"by kathy k. (see profile) 01/27/12

A magical book. Quick read and I could not put it down.

  "The Sugar Queen"by Beth L. (see profile) 05/06/11

  "Not very interesting"by Betsy S. (see profile) 05/06/11

The plot of this book is just boring. It is like an everyday account of someone with a boring life. When things do happen, it is not believable because the characters are so boring. I wouldn't recommend... (read more)

  "Wait for the Hallmark Movie"by Meghan J. (see profile) 05/06/11

This book is slow, fairly pointless, and the characters are ridiculously dull. The whole thing seems far fetched, hard to believe, hard to swallow and painful. Choose another book and wait for the Hallmark... (read more)

  "Peppermint Patty"by Toni B. (see profile) 03/26/11

If you have a sweet tooth, you will love this book! Josey is a great character and while she goes through quite a bit she does so smiling. This book really picks up toward the end and I felt it was fun... (read more)

  "Surprising"by Stacey S. (see profile) 03/15/11

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