Sunday, June 21, 2009

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

57487495_a.NhuZ7VrAtoiy.jpg 4.5roses.TQwZutwYiyey.jpg Highly Recommended

Title: Garden Spells
Sarah Addison Allen
# pages: 286
Date published: 2007
Genre: women’s fiction with romantic elements
North Carolina

First sentence(s):

“Every smiley moon, without fail, Claire dreamed of her childhood. She always tried to stay awake those nights when the stars winked and the moon was just a cresting sliver smiling provocatively down at the world, the way pretty women on vintage billboards used to smile as they sold cigarettes and limeade. On those nights in the summer, Claire would garden by teh light of the solar-powered footpath lamps, weeding and trimming the night bloomers--the moon vine and the angel’s trumpet, the night jasmine and the flowering tobacco.”
What is it all about? Claire Waverley and her sister Sydney didn’t have the most conventional upbringing. Their family has always been considered strange and their garden magical. Claire, desperate for stability, chose to stay in their small hometown and use the flowers and plants from the garden as centerpieces of a thriving catering business. But Sydney, always the outsider, was determined to escape. But now Sydney has returned to Bascom, with her five-year-old daughter Bay, and the sisters struggle to connect like they never have in the past.

Random thoughts:
  • This was Allen’s debut novel. That surprised me - it didn’t feel clunky or amateurish at all. From Allen’s web site I found out that her father was a copy editor, newspaper reporter, and columnist, though. Guess that has something to do with it...
  • Some people may find this strange, but I really like the way the cover of this book feels (see, this is what I’m talking about giving up if I were to completely switch to an e-reader). The covers of all of her books are very pretty. I hope they’re all printed on the same paper ;o).
  • This is one of the books I’ve had on my Raved-About Reads Challenge list and I certainly see what all the buzz was about. I enjoyed the book a lot.
Favorite scene(s): Anytime the apple tree flings apples at people - funny, funny, funny ;o).

Favorite quote:
“Lester had come back from his stroke last year with a limp and a corner of his mouth that wouldn’t quite turn up, so he kept a handkerchief handy to wipe away the spittle that collected there. Didn’t want to offend the ladies. He spent a lot of time sitting these days, which he didn’t mind so much. It gave him time to think. Truth be told, he had always looked forward to this time in his life. When he was a boy, his grandfather lived the life of Reilly, his days full of big breakfasts, hunting when he felt like it, sleeping in the afternoons, and picking the banjo in the evenings. That, Lester thought, was the way to live. You even got money in the mail every month, like clockwork. So Lester decided early on that he wanted to grow up and be retired.” (pp. 137-138)
Amen, Lester ;o).

Fun tidbits:
  1. Sarah Addison Allen’s Website
  2. Allen’s sister’s name is Sydney. Other fun tidbits, excerpts, and deleted scenes from Garden Spells can be found on the author’s web site, too.
Recommended for readers who: like magical stories involving relationships and food -- think Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, for example.


The Bookworm said...

I've heard good things about this one. Great review!

Literary Feline said...

You make me want to dig this out of my TBR and start it right now! If only I didn't have other commitments going. I do hope to read this one someday though. I've heard such great things about it.

Louise said...

This sounds like a wonderful summery read. I know it sounds weird, but when I read the quote in the beginning of the post, I came to think of a body-lotion and shower-gel that Bodyshop used to make. It had the smell of tobacco-flowers and it smelled so wonderful - as awful as tobacco-smoke smells, the flower smells lovely. I guess they had to stop making it because people thought it was a yucky name and they did not sell enough of it. I loved it though and wish they would begin making it again ;o)

Booklogged said...

I keep reading good reviews for this book. Why haven't I read it yet?!