Sizzle > Reading Group Questions
Suggested Questions for Discussion
- Sizzle is about the loves and ambitions that drive its principal characters into a fierce battle to
seize control of the nation’s most popular and prestigious journalistic plum. On one side are the
ruthless British media mogul Harrison Kendricks and his henchmen. On the other, the
glamorous, self-made corporate wizard Marietta Wylford and her entourage. Which one did you
hope would win?
- As the book opens, we find Marietta in a compromising position with Philip Bailey, the
current publisher of Sizzle. How did she handle the situation? What would you have done if
something like that ever happened to you?
- When you learned of Marietta’s early life, did you sympathize with her determination to
escape her miserable home life and desperate poverty at any cost? Did her situation remind you
of other people you have known or public figures you have read about?
- Early in their affair, Marietta tells the struggling actor Craig Campbell not to get serious about
their relationship. Do you think it was fair of her to continue with the affair since she had made it
clear that it could go nowhere?
- What do you think of the way Marietta gets the wealthy widower Harlan Wylford to take
notice of her, and of how she manipulates him into falling in love with her?
- Do you like Harlan? Why or why not? Do you think that there was a point when he became
aware that Marietta was manipulating him into marriage?
- Once they are married, Marietta devotes herself to being a good wife and to helping Harlan
grow his business. Do you think this makes up for the way she went about getting him to
- Were you surprised that Marietta wanted to take in teenager Melanie Danielle when she was
orphaned in the fire that gutted the tenement where Marietta grew up? Did the love and care she
and Harlan gave to Melanie change the way you thought about Marietta? Why?
- Though much of the book occurs in some of the most glamorous places and homes in New
York City, the action also takes the reader to such exotic places as the Riviera, Paris, Bermuda,
and Amsterdam. Which of these areas appealed to you most? Why?
- When the battle to gain enough shares to take over Sizzle begins, Marietta wins David
Belmont, its editor, over to her side. Do you like David? How do you feel about the things he is
willing to do to help Marietta gain shares? Melanie seems to be attracted to him. Do you think
the feeling is or ever can be mutual?
- When Melanie must travel to Amsterdam to convince the son of Philip Bailey to release his
shares to the Wylford camp, David tells her that while there she should make a point of visiting
Anne Frank’s house and Our Dear Lord in the Attic church, adding, “They’re more important for
people like us to see than all the art treasures in the museums.” Why do you think he said that?
And why do you think that Melanie, when she returned, could not bring herself to tell him that
she had seen them and how much they moved her?
- When Marietta travels to Paris and meets with Craig Campbell to try to get him to tender his
shares in Sizzle to her, were you surprised that the old spark seemed to reignite between them?
How did you feel about Craig’s final reaction? Do you think Marietta should have told him that
she was responsible for the big break that set him off on his successful career?
- What do you think of Clifford Langhton, Harrison Kendricks’s second in command? Did you
warm to his wife and family? Did you understand why he did what he had to do to win shares
over to the Kendricks side? Do you think his wife was right to react as she did when she was
touched by the results of his actions?
- Just before he died, Philip Bailey told Marietta that he had come into possession of proof that
Harrison Kendricks had been involved in something so vile that Kendricks would be forced to
back out of the takeover battle when he was confronted with it. All through the book, Marietta,
Melanie and David struggle to find out what it was. Were you shocked when they finally
unearthed the secret?
- What do you think of the meeting between Marietta and Kendricks? Were you surprised by
his reaction when she revealed that she had proof of what he did? Do you think that the
precautions Marietta took will keep her safe?
- How do you feel about the outcome of the takeover battle for Sizzle?
- By the end of the book, did your feelings for Marietta or any of the other characters change?
If so, how and why?
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