Garden Spells

Status: Main Selections
August 2007 -- In her first novel, Sarah Addison Allen has written a tender, bewitching book told with captivating invention, peopled with characters to care about, and filled with the irresistible magic of dreams come true.

The women of the Waverley family—whether they like it or not—are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business—and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life—upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells  reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

Message Edited by PaulH on 04-07-2009 02:45 PM
Comments
by FrogFaerie on ‎07-01-2009 08:51 PM
I loved this book! I read this recommendation last night and checked my local library to see if it was available. It was so I checked it out this morning and have already finished reading it 7 hours later! I could NOT put it down. It is so well written. I love books about magic and other supernatural things, but this one is SO different. The magic is so natural and believable. The whole story leaves you feeling as if you were there and that these characters are your neighbors and friends. I have put a hold on Ms. Allen's next book, "The Sugar Queen", and am looking forward to losing myself in it.
by giantdimples on ‎08-07-2009 12:44 PM
What an absolutely delightful book.  It is definitely a quick read and very, very enjoyable.  Well written and holds your attention.  Highly recommend.

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