My #BookReview of magical #Fantasy The Peach keeper by @SarahAddisonAll #fridayreads

The Peach KeeperThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Peach Keeper is a magical fantasy romance set in a town called Wall Of Water in North Carolina. The town, at the edge of a national park, is often shrouded in dense fog from the nearby falls.

Paxton Osgood and her family have been renovating an old building known as The Blue Ridge Madam. Once the home of a logging family, it fell into disrepair. Willa Jackson is a descendent of the owners of The Madam, but she’s never stepped into the house, once rumoured to be haunted.

Chairwomen of the Women’s Society Club, Paxton has sent out invites to the clubs 75th anniversary celebrations which will be combined with the grand opening of The Madam. Paxton wants to see the granddaughter of one of the founders of the club (Willa) to bring her grandmother along, but Willa is reluctant.

The discovery of a skeleton under a peach tree in the grounds of The Madam threaten Paxton’s plans. Believed to be the remains of magical travelling man Tucker Devlin, secrets from the past buried with the body come to light; none are more shocking than Nana Osgood’s revelations.

There’s a wonderful magical element to this book, from the storm that caused the invites to be delivered to wrong houses, the store bell that rang when no-one was there, to the magical smell of peaches wafting on the air. Love and true friendship mix with this cosy mystery.

Here are two of my favourite quotes from the book:

‘Happiness means taking risks, and if you’re not a little scared, you’re not doing it right.’

‘If you make room in your life- good things will enter.’

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Book description

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 thirty-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 seventy-five 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.

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.

Sarah Addison Allen

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My #BookReview of Magical #Fantasy The Sugar Queen by @SarahAddisonAll

The Sugar QueenThe Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sugar Queen is a magical fantasy set in Bald Slope, North Carolina. Josey Cirrinis is the twenty-seven year old daughter of the late Marco Cirrinis who put Bald Slope on the tourist map with his ski resort. Josey’s mother despises and continually puts her down, clipping Josey’s desire to leave the town and travel. Years of this treatment have turned Josey into a secret comfort eater who hordes sweet treats.

With the arrival of autumn, Josey is relieved because the colder weather means she can wear her lucky red jumper again. But today she awoke to find local waitress, Della Lee Baker, had taken up residence in her closet. They strike up an amicable friendship. Apart from her crush on the mail-man, Josey’s adult life has, so far, been boring and predictable.

The arrival of Della Lee changes all this, and Josey discovers a life outside her home; with Della’s encouragement, she breaks the bonds that tie her down.

This is a gentle slow burn romance with a magical twist or two. There’s a character who has the power to attract books. I loved the quirky idea of books appearing just when you need them; as a bookworm, for me, that seems like a dream come true. I also liked Della Lee, obviously someone for whom life had dealt a difficult hand, but she played her cards well in the end. She was both fun and sad; I liked how she teased the Cirrinis’ house-maid, but showed fierce loyalty to Josey.

Recommended for an enjoyable few hours of magical escapism.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Josey lives an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her only consolation the sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to in her hidden closet. But one day she finds it harbouring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis and two parts fairy godmother.

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).

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

My #BookReview of magical #Fantasy First Frost by @SarahAddisonAll #TuesdayBookBlog

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Frost is book #2 in the magical fantasy, Waverley Sisters of Bascom novels. Set once again in North Carolina, this book takes place ten years later than book #1, Garden Spells. (read my review of book #1 here)

Claire Waverley’s catering business has now changed and she makes candy, which is believed to have magical properties. Demand has grown so much that she can no longer use her own garden flowers and she unhappily supplements them with commercially bought flavours and essences.

Claire’s sister, Sydney, now owns the hair salon in town and uses her own magical Waverley gift to create hairstyles that leave her customers feeling special. Her daughter, Bay, is now fifteen; she sets things in order and has a great eye for knowing where everything belongs. However, she’s currently suffering from the teenage anxiety of first love.

A stranger comes to town; Russel Zahler, once the Great Banditi, is a down-on-his-luck magician and con artist. He begins to send unsettling ripples through the community. Before the first frost of the autumn, Waverley women become jittery, and this year it’s at its worst, no one can settle. What does the stranger want?

I enjoyed this book as much as the first and fans of Garden Spells should enjoy this sequel, with the magic apple tree and the mysterious skills of the Waverley clan. I’m glad Evanelle, the eighty nine year old relative, was still around with her own gift; she brings a lovely touch of eccentricity to the tale.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections — rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds — are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby — a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to.. if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen’s enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

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).

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

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.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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).

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter