By: Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: Bantom Dell/Division of Random House
Format-fiction, magical realism
Reason for Reading: I am gobbling up all of her works since I finished The Girl Who Chased the Moon
“The biscuits with lilac jelly, the lavender tea cookies, and the tea cakes made with nasturtium mayonnaise the Ladies Aid ordered for their meetings once a month gave them the ability to keep secrets. The fried dandelion buds over marigold-petal rice, stuffed pumpkin blossoms, and rose-hip soup ensured that your company would notice only the beauty of your home and never the flaws. Anise hyssop honey butter on toast, angelica candy, and cupcakes with crystallized pansies made children thoughtful.”
The Waverley family has always stood out in the tiny North Carolina town of Bascom. They have special flowers growing in their garden and a magical apple tree that will tell you your biggest event of your life. Most of the Waverley clan are gifted with a special magic of their own.
Claire and Sydney Waverley had a contentious relationship growing up. As soon as Sydney graduated high school she fled Bascom and never looked back. Claire is reclusive and shy. She embraces her magic and accepts that the town as a whole finds her and her family more than a little odd. She is happiest in the kitchen creating new dishes. She in content in her small, safe existence.
Her whole world is turned upside down with the return of her sister with her young daughter in tow and a sexy new neighbor who has his eyes set on her. With her world suddenly expanded, Claire has to make a choice. Does she make way and let them in, or does she cling steadfastly to her fears?
The writing style I so fell in love with in The Girl Who Chased the Moon is very much present in Allen’s debut novel. The characters are well-drawn, the descriptions evocative and lyrical. I love how Allen creates these tiny, whimsical, oddball little towns and populates them with fleshed out, living, breathing characters (who are more than a little quirky.) I care about what happens to them. I am so taken with their journey that I am emotionally invested in their outcomes in a way I rarely experience.