Sweet Hush Readers' Guide

  1. The Jacobs are loosely modeled after some familiar First Couples. Who do you think they most resemble?
  2. Deborah Smith never mentions the President's political party by name. Which party do you think he belongs to, and why?
  3. In Sweet Hush, Nick Jacobek is a Lt. Colonel, and happens to be the President's nephew. In real life, do you think a prominent military officer could stay on active duty after a close member of his family is elected President?
  4. Hush embodies a stand-by-your-man philosophy (regarding her late husband, Davy) thatis often portrayed in novels set in the south. Can you think of other literary examples ofstoic southern wives?
  5. The book's Georgia mountain setting, with itsapple farm, is described in loving detail. Southern writers seem to put a lot of importance on "place" as a vivid influence on the lives and motives of their characters. Do you think this is primarily a focus of southern writers, or do writers from other regions display the same fondness for "Going home, to Tara."
  6. Hush's relationship with her son, Davis, is both trusting and over-protective. Discuss other notable examples of mother/son conflicts in fiction.
  7. Hush and First Lady Edwina Jacobs have a deliciously wicked "friendship" built on mutual antipathy, yet they arealike in being strong, compassionate women. What makes you uncomfortable about the portrayal of women's roles in modern fiction? Do modern female characters often seemtoo strong, or still not strong enough?
  8. Hush and Nick's romanceismature but also vibrantlyreckless. What is your idea of the perfect man? And what would he have to do to win your devotion?
  9. Do you believe in love in first sight, which seems to happen to Hush and Nick?
  10. If yousuddenly became nationally — and even internationally — famous— as Hush does after her son marries the President's daughter — whatdo you think would be the worst drawback to that fame? What would be the best thing about it?