Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Garden Spells is a magical fantasy book and is set in North Carolina.
Do you believe in magic? The people of Bascom do. Folklore has grown up around the long family lines in Bascom: all Clark women are proficient in the art of love, Hopkins men always marry older women, and Waverley women know weird things, and have a magical apple tree. Tradition said that if you ate an apple from the tree, you would be provided with a vision of the biggest event in your life.
Claire Waverley now owns the large Queen Anne style family home, where she runs a catering business, creating dishes infused with flowers and ingredients from her garden. Her life is quiet and orderly.
Sydney Waverley rejects her roots; she hates being labelled a Waverley, and fled Bascom as soon as she could.
Everything is about to change. Claire can feel it in the garden, sense it in the air. A new neighbour and the sudden return of Sydney are about to turn Claire’s safe world upside-down.
I loved Evanelle, a seventy-nine year old distant Waverley relative. People are amused and perplexed at the items she gives them. But however curious the gift, they find it to be just what they need, at some point later, be it a spoon, or a brooch, or any other random item.
This is a delightful book to escape into on a lazy summer day. If you enjoy tales of enchantment and romance with a touch of suspense then this book might be for you.
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Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that’s been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.
Claire has always clung to the Waverleys’ roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies – famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs – until one day she waked to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden…Claire’s carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.
About the author
New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.
Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature — because, as she puts it, “I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.”
After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.
Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.
Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011) and Lost Lake (2014) and First Frost (2015).
Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.
I enjoyed reading this book…
Sarah Addison Allen is one of my very favorite writers, and Garden Spells is a book I absolutely loved. I was hooked from a line at the very beginning, when our heroine is gardening at night: “Claire had added flowers to the garden to give her something to do at night when she was so wound up that frustration singed the edge of her nightgown and she set tiny fires with her fingertips.”
Magical realism is a fun genre, and done right, can make you believe every word on the page. This was one of those books, and while it is my favorite of all of Allen’s work, the rest are all quite good, too, especially The Sugar Queen. Lovely review, Rosie. Makes me remember why I enjoyed this one so much that I gave it five stars. I might have gone for 6, if I could have gotten away with it. 🙂
Thanks Marcia, I enjoyed my lovely warm fuzzy feeling after reading the book and agree is was very magical, I have since bought several more by this author to treat myself with, perhaps I shall try The Sugar Queen next.
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Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
Check out the book, Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen, as featured on the Rosie Amber blog.
Lovely review…and a magical cover!
It is isn’t it Linda? My copy is also one of those touchy feely ones that you can keep stroking.
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