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Book clubs  •  17 October 2023


The Sugar Palace book club questions

A heart-stopping romantic adventure to read with your book club.

Under the clamour of the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Grace Fairweather works in her father’s grocery shop in The Rocks. While she takes pride in the family business, Grace has always had a dream of her own: to open a sweetshop where she can sell her toffees lollies and chocolates.

When the roguish but irresistible Londoner, Alfie Sweeting, comes to work for the Fairweathers, his confidence in her ambition propels Grace to make her dreams a reality. Along the way, she will begin to uncover some of Alfie’s darker secrets, but will his seedy past be compelling enough to dampen the feelings she’s beginning to have for him?

Fast, fun and with lovable characters, your whole book club will adore The Sugar Palace

Discussion points and questions

  • The Sugar Palace sounds like a delightful destination. Which of Grace’s creations would be most irresistible to you? Were any of your childhood favourites mentioned?
  • Grace’s parents expect her to marry Norman. In what ways would such a union have changed the course of Grace’s life? Do you think he was ever really a likely suitor?
  • ‘What’s life without some risk?’ Grace asks her mother after being warned that Alfie is a dreamer. Do you think Alfie’s wins are worth the risks when he is gambling with others’ futures?
  • When Grace discovers what Alfie has really been up to under the cover of her sweets business, she is furious but she gives him another chance. Do you think she made the right decision?
  • Alfie is determined to make sure Holly doesn’t have to work in the brothel as she’s destined to. Does Alfie have any other qualities that you admire?
  • In what ways do Grace and Alfie make such a successful team in business, and in life?
  • How do the characters of Grace and Alfie change throughout the novel?
  • Do you think George Dooley made his own destiny?
  • Tilly Devine and May Smith were formidable true characters from the era. Discuss the ways in which women’s lives and choices back then were different to today.
  • Who would you cast in the roles of Grace, Alfie, Holly and Tilly in a screen adaptation of The Sugar Palace?
  • Did you spot a character from one of Fiona’s other novels visiting the Sugar Palace?
  • Have you ever visited any of the real-life settings from one of Fiona McIntosh’s novels?


Want more? Read our guide to Fiona McIntosh here!

The Sugar Palace Fiona McIntosh

The heart-stopping new historical romantic adventure from the bestselling author of The Orphans.

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