Review: The Sugar Queen

the sugar queen

Name of Book: The Sugar Queen
By: Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: Bantam Books
Copyright Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 288
Format: fiction, magical realism
Reason for Reading: working my way through her backlog
Rating: A

Josey Cirini has a sugar addiction. She has a secret closet piled high with her favorite sweets, romance novels, and travel magazines. A perfect getaway from her overbearing mother and monotous life.

Josey lives a lonely existence. Her work consists of taking care of her mother, Margaret-shuttling her around to her various functions, going to the market, physically caring for her at times.  Physically ailing she may, Margaret, keeps a hawk eye on her daughter. She fears her daughter growing into her own and leaving her. She does everything she can to keep Josey on a short leash despite the fact Josey is nearly thirty.  In addition to an overbearing mother, Josey’s childhood reputation as a  spoiled, tantrum-prone child precedes her. The townspeople don’t see Josey for the shy, sweet grown woman she now is. Josey pines for the mailman who doesn’t know she is alive, and she doesn’t have a single friend to her name.

Josey’s staid existence comes to an abrupt halt the day she comes home to find a woman from town named Della Lee hiding out in her closet.  Della Lee is a rough and tough woman. She takes root and won’t leave until Josey grows a backbone, removes herself from underneath her mother’s thumb, and participates fully in her own life.

Allen’s trademark whimsy is  ever present in her follow-up to Garden Spells. The characters are well-drawn, living in a cute, North Carolina town. I didn’t think this town had as much character as the other ones she has created.  Allen continues to create poignant stories blending whimsy, food, and magic for an irresistible read.

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12 Responses to Review: The Sugar Queen

  1. Sounds good. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  2. Bumbles says:

    I don’t know if this one is for me. I found myself becoming annoyed with Josey just getting to know her through your synopsis. The other works that you have reviewed interested me more than this one – so I would likely start with one of them instead.

    • jehara says:

      Hmm, well, that is her backstory, which you get reading the story, but Della Lee showing up and changing everything happens immediately. Josey is a really sweet character and once you learn about her history and her mother, her life makes sense. I don’t think I did a good job describing her. She develops some bone pretty early on, which was fun to watch.

  3. Margot says:

    I like the way you told me about Josey. You baited me. I now have to find out how she grows up and out on her own. I like this type of story where I feel so sorry for the character while at the same time yelling at her to get a backbone. Do I need to read Garden Spells first?

  4. I really enjoyed this one too, but her first is still my favorite!!

  5. izzybella says:

    I just finished Garden Spells and started on this one. I loved, loved, loved, loved Garden Spells so much that I think I’m going to have to wait a bit to finish this one. Kind of like when you’re doing a tasting and you drink water in between… 🙂 Same concept. But it looks good and I did like Josie right away.

    • jehara says:

      I don’t know how to do that! I loved loved loved loved loved Garden Spells and was so sad it was over that I immediately started this one. You are a better woman than me. 😉

  6. Heather says:

    I’m really excited to see if I enjoy her other works as much as Garden Spells!

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    Unfortunately, I had a probelm with Josey pretty much the whole way through this one although I did enjoy it.

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