Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

4.5 stars for Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.

Garden Spells is an impressively charming, light-hearted, easy read with likeable characters and a dose of sweet humor.

There is just the right amount of suspense and secrecy centering on the extraordinary Waverley sisters and their special, almost magical connection with an enchanted apple tree to keep me intrigued and turn the pages incessantly.

Overall, a remarkable debut novel.

Publisher: Bantam Books; Later Printing edition
Publication date: 1 Jan 2007


The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories.

Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

*Blurb from Goodreads*

Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition
Publication date: 28 Aug 2007

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