Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Sweet southern hospitality at it's best. Add a dose of magnolias, a peach tree and a 150 year old oak tree and you're in Walls of Water, North Carolina....Ghosts, old society, old money, new money and formal charm...

The Audible Publisher's summary:
The New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of 30-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow—no easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes.

But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water 75 years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

A suprise listen for me - I had intended to start George R.R.Martin's "A Game of Thrones" this week - something drew me towards The Peach Keeper - quite possibly the cover art and it's placement on the reliable New York Times Bestsellers list. It ended up being my kind of novel - the air of super-natural, old homes, old mysteries - and likable, interesting and compelling characters.

The Peach Keeper is narrated by Karen White - who at times seems to draw out words - as though she is weak and struggling over the story and the words. Which does not really mesh with the narration by the character of Willa Jackson. It's forgivable however and after a couple of hours I didn't notice the narrator's odd style.

The Peach Keeper is definitely a "highly recommend" from Team Magica - I suspect it'll be equally intriguing in novel format as it was as an audiobook. Thanks again to the NYT for another fantastic listen. Now that I've made the discovery, I also intend to one day get back to some of Sarah Addison Allen's previous works - specifically "The Girl Who Chased The Moon" and "The Sugar Queen".

The Peach Keeper was written by Sarah Addison Allen and published by Random House Audio. The Peach Keeper was narrated by Karen White and has an audible release date of March 22, 2011. The Peach Keeper has an unabridged runtime of 7 hours 43 minutes.

A video teaser for the book from Amazon:

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