Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Garden Spells (copy)

Clair is at home in her garden and kitchen. From the time she rises in the morning until she lays her head in bed, she can be found tending to the Waverley garden and creating delicious recipes from its flowers, fruits, and herbs.

These culinary creations, known all over the county, have flourished into a profitable catering business. Wines, jams, jellies, soups, sauces, and breads producing heady smells in the kitchen and having a heady effect on consumers, are her specialties. This past week she whipped up a batch of Rose Geranium wine for her friend and neighbor Fred Walker. He is having a little love trouble with his partner of 16 years, and the mixture promises to bring back sweet memories.

The town folks rave over her concoctions and use her catering ecstatically, but they keep a distance from Clair personally. See, the Waverley family is a little different. Each member has a special gift such as Clair’s way with food. Her aunt, Evanelle, can predict other people’s needs. Out of the blue, she will walk up to you and hand you a knit hat in summer, but oddly enough it will come in handy before the end of the week. No, they are not witches; they are Waverleys, and long-lost baby sister is coming home.

At 28, Sydney is running away from an abusive boyfriend before he kills her or does damage to her 6-year-old daughter Bay. It has been 10 years since she has seen Bascom, NC, and her sister, Clair. While away she has been under an assumed name and believes they will be safe and untraceable back in her hometown. As you can guess, they are not.

Garden Spells is an enchanting read by new, Southern author Sarah Addison Allen. The book contains a mixture of mysticism, mystery, romance, and relationships. By mysticism, I mean a magical apple tree in the backyard which likes to throw apples at unsuspecting passer-bys.

I decided to give this book a try after going to the Lunch with Books at Senatobia Public Library. Lighty Durley and Jane Billingsley gave an informative program on culinary books which included yummy dessert. Culinary books contain plots with cooking and recipes as either vital character or scenery element to a story. Garden Spells is the latest one on the market; although it does not contain recipes. One will need to visit the author’s website for those.

19 comments:

Les said...

I have a copy of this in my stacks. Reading your review, it reminds me a bit of Chocolat (Joanne Harris) and Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel. It's been a while since I've read anything with magical realism. Need to move this higher in my stacks!

Maggie said...

Les, I think you will love this; plus, it is a one day read! :D

Anonymous said...

My branch manager read this and practically shoved it into my hands. Guess I need to pick it up and read it. She told me that she knew I like PRACTICAL MAGIC a lot and that this is even better. I'll have to get to it soon.

Maggie said...

Wow! She liked it better than PracticalMagic!?! That is a good endorsement. It can be a one day read, so my thoughts would be PM lite. :)

Lisa said...

maggie, I've seen a couple reviews for this book -- all positive. It sounds really interesting. I'm finding myself liking books with magical realism more and more here of late. I think I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the review!

jenclair said...

Kay mentioned Practical Magic by Hoffman, which is exactly what I thought of as I read your review. Sounds good, Maggie.

WorkingWords100 said...

A mostly happy book.

I need that.

Now, I have to hunt for it.

stefanie said...

Pretty cover. I'd like Clair to come and tend my garden. I have some spots that need a little help :)

Maggie said...

Enjoy, Lisa. Have you read Like Water for Chocolate? It might be a great follow-up after this one. :)

Jenclair - I was thinking it as I read, but the movie not the book. I haven't read the book. *blush* The thing that clinched it. (Or, is it cinched it?) The thorns growing at the sides of the garden as trouble brews in GS was too close to the climbing rose growing near the body in PM.

I wish I had a copy, WW100, and I would send it to you. I'm sure they have a copy at the library and while there pick up a Janet Evanovich number too, just for laughs. :)

Ah, wouldn't that be nice Stefanie. I'm planning on getting out there this year and trying to make a difference. I have a tendency to plant and walk away. It is truly survival of the fittest in my yard. ;)

Mary said...

A friend's book group read this and liked it. I'm going to add it to the TBR list. Thanks!

Maggie said...

I hope you like it Mary. I think my boss was looking at it for book club, too. I wonder if it is meaty enough?

Bookfool said...

I loved this book! The tree is a hoot. :)

Maggie said...

I think author Allen will return to these characters b/c I got the feeling Bay ate an apple and saw her future, Bookfool. She has a book coming out this year and I look forward to it.

Mo said...

Yes, this is just my kinda read; it's already on my wishlist...glad to read that you enjoyed it. (Glad to read the positive comparisons w/Hoffman, too - she's one of my favorites!)

Maggie said...

Hey Mo, I think you will like it and it's a one day read. Enjoy! ;D

Anonymous said...

What a neat review! :) I've never heard of this book. Thanks for the heads-up!!

Maggie said...

She's just starting J Kaye. The best is yet to come. :)

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Loved it, loved it! Just lovely. Can't wait to get my hands her upcoming Sugar Queen for the Challenge!

____Maggie said...

Me neither, TLL! :)