Review: Garden Spells

garden spells

Garden Spells

By: Sarah Addison Allen

Publisher: Bantom Dell/Division of Random House

Copyright: 2007

Format-fiction, magical realism

Reason for Reading: I am gobbling up all of her works since I finished The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Rating: A+

“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.

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18 Responses to Review: Garden Spells

  1. Heather says:

    This one has been my favorite so far for this year! I just loved it!

  2. Margot says:

    Wow, you really found the mother-lode when you discovered Sarah Addison Allen. I love your enthusiasm about all that you’ve read so far. You have me putting Ms. Allen on my list of authors I need to read.

    • jehara says:

      I sure did, Margot!!! You can expect two more reviews in the coming weeks as I’ve finished all of her books now. I hope she has another in the works! 😀

  3. Bumbles says:

    Sounds like the perfect read for a quirky girl ;0)

    I love your descriptions in the last 2 paragraphs. Characters to care about are so key to my reading experience.

  4. I loved this book. It was just fantastic.

    • jehara says:

      It really was. So are her others. You are in for a treat. Too bad we can’t share books on our e-readers, because I would so lend my copies to you.

  5. izzybella says:

    I don’t need any more convincing when it comes to this author. I am just waiting for the end of this term so I can have some extra reading time!!!!

  6. Staci says:

    This one is still my favorite of all of her works!

    • jehara says:

      I am inclined to agree with you, Staci, as this is the book I think of most often. They are all wondeful, but Garden Spells definitely holds a special place in my heart.

  7. Pingback: Recovering From a Reading Lull | Quirky Girls Read

  8. I love, no-adore, Sarah Addison Allen. I, too, read The Girl Who Chased the Moon first. Then quickly read everything else she wrote. I can’t wait to get The Peach Keeper. So glad you found her.

  9. stacybuckeye says:

    LOVED this one. It was one of my favorite reads last year. I wasn’t as crazy about her second one, but I look forward to the third.

  10. Mary says:

    I’ve liked all of her books but this one is my favorite. I need to read her newest. I love how I feel while reading her novels – if that makes sense 🙂

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