Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I tried once again to get back into "A Game of Thrones", but once again couldn't get into the storyline...I suppose a 33 hour audiobook is bound to start slowly as characters are developed, but I'm not feeling the love for it right now. Since I discovered and so thoroughly enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper I decided to go back and download another of her novels - this time "Garden Spells", like a well worn pair of jeans it was easy to settle into this listen.

The Audible Publisher's Summary:
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers.
Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.
A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants - from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor.
Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys - except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.
When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down - along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy - if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom - or with each other.

I don't know why I'm drawn to "southern" novels....I'm a born and bred New England girl, suffering through miserable winters, rejoicing at the rejuvenation that comes with spring in Vermont - but I'm drawn to southern novels: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, The Help, The Peach Keeper and now Garden Spells. As refreshing as sweet tea (which is entirely too sweet to be refreshing), it's always fun to slip into that culture - an easy, over-romanticized way of life. I enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells for the same reason that I enjoyed her most recent novel The Peach Keeper - a hint of magic, a smooth storyline that could be picked up and put down again as the week progressed. The dramatic bits certainly could have been more dramatic and the characters could have been more developed - but ultimately a satisfying listen.

Garden Spells was written by Sarah Addison Allen and published by Brillance Audio. Garden Spells was narrated by Susan Ericksen and has an audible release date of May 23, 2008. Garden Spells has an unabridged runtime of 7 hours 48 minutes.

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