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
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.