Rosie’s #Bookreview of Magical Realism LOST LAKE by @SarahAddisonAll #fridayreads

Lost Lake (Lost Lake, #1)Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

4 stars

Lost Lake is a magical realism story; a contemporary read with a sprinkle of other worldly magic.

Kate wakes twice; once to the morning sunlight and once to life, one year on from the death of her husband. Realising that she has only been surviving, she promises to do better for the sake of her daughter Devin. Together they discover a postcard sent fifteen years earlier from Kate’s great aunt Eby, from a place called Lost Lake. It reminded Kate of a summer when Kate had been just twelve; it  had been her very best trip. It’s currently the school holidays, so on a whim, Kate decides to take her daughter on a road-trip to rediscover Lost Lake.

The lakeside cabins are old and falling into disrepair; the holidaymakers are fewer each summer. Every year a developer offers to buy the property, but landowner Eby refuses to sell. This year is different; she accepts his offer. Over the years the Lost Lake has been a place to escape for many people and not everyone is ready to let this part of their life go. Assuming that Eby will go through with the sale, the town and the occupants of the lake cabins come together for one last party; will it be the end, or can they rewrite the finale?

Using a small group of characters, the author made them all feel like they were my friends and acquaintances. Each had a connection to the Lost Lake; a reason to be there and a need to stay. I particularly liked Billy, the alligator, he was special in a magical way. The connection he had with Kate’s daughter Devin, was lovely. The lake was a place where, over the years, oddball characters could feel at peace. It felt real enough for me to want to go there myself to find my own touch of magic.

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Book description

The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.

That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.

It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.

Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she’s all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer… and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago.

One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren’t sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it’s too late?

At once atmospheric and enchanting, Lost Lake shows Sarah Addison Allen at her finest, illuminating the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.

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My #BookReview of Magical #Fantasy Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen @SarahAddisonAll

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)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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Book Description

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

Sarah Addison Allen

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).

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