Monday, June 8, 2009

BOOK: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, 290 pages

Southern Reading Challenge, Once Upon a Time III, herding cats

What led you to pick up this book?
I've seen it at the library for months, on the popular fiction shelf; it was recommended by jenny for the herding cats challenge; and it was time to read a southern book.

Summarize the plot, but don't give away the ending!
The estranged Waverley sisters of North Carolina are magical with an apple tree in the back yard. Each has a gift - one with food, one with hair, and are trying to learn to love.

What did you like most about the book?
It was very charming, and the magic worked in ways that I don't usually get, but it was so gentle and seemed natural.
The men were mostly perfect, and the southern local flavor was all over it.
I liked how the families in the town had traits, that everyone in the town knows about, and it is just understood. Like one family where the men marry older women. It's true in small towns with families that have been around for ages.

What did you like least?
Can't think of much. I'd give it a 4.5/5.

What did you think of the main character?
I really liked the sisters, Claire and Sydney, each making huge changes in their life and trying to begin a new relationship.

Any other particularly interesting characters?
I loved Evanelle, the old aunt whose gift was to give people something they would need. She never knew why they needed it, but she had to give it to them.

Share a quote from the book:
She was so southern that she cried tears that came straight from Mississippi, and she always smelled faintly of cottonwood and peaches.

You are who you are, whether you like it or not, so why not like it?

Some things couldn't be explained. Some things could. Sometimes you liked the explanation. Sometimes you didn't. that's when you called it myth.

Share a favorite scene from the book.
There was a pretty steamy scene under the apple tree, and I liked the scene with Sydney's high school sweetheart and his wife as they come to grips with Sydney's return.

What about the ending?
A little perfect but it matched the tone of the book and I would have been disappointed with any other ending.

Which of your readers are most likely to enjoy this book? Why?
most of these people liked it

also reviewed by : tinylittlelibrarian,
marg at reading adventures,
les at lesley's book nook,
lori at shetreadssoftly,
melanie the indextrious reader,
terri at reading,writing, and retirement
stephanie at confessions of a bookaholic
icedream reading in appalachia
maggie at maggie reads


  1. I had planned to get this at the library a couple months ago. With the size of the pile, though, I never did pick it up. I really must remedy that soon!

  2. I'm not big on "magic", but I am going to give this one a try. It's great to see that you enjoyed it so much.

  3. I loved Garden Spells, especially that crazy apple tree.

  4. Good! I have this on my library list!

  5. I have Garden Spells, but you have made it sound great. It's moving up in the ole TBR pile. Thanks!

  6. Nice review. I read this quite a while ago (a year or more) and really liked it - especially that apple tree :) A few months later I read The Sugar Queen and liked that as much if not more than Garden Spells. Can't wait for the newest book which is due early next year. I never thought I'd be a fan of magical realism but SAA is a wonderful writer and has me under her spell!

  7. kailana - I've picked it up at the library many times, but then put it down. I'm glad I saved it for the southern reading challenge. It was perfect atmosphere and southern characters.

    joy - I'm not much on it either, but I got into it after a bit of a slow start, but then the sister part really took over.

    bookfool - yeah, that crazy tree! I loved how the sisters were so annoyed by it.

    pam - it'll be perfect for the southern reading challenge. And there is another book by that author, and even a new book coming out. I haven't read Practical Magic, but other people say it is very similar.

    sharon - it was very charming, nothing too heavy. Hope you like it.

    mary - I'm glad I can look forward to The Sugar Queen, and even another new one. I'm not a fan of magical realism, but every now and then it works for me. It worked for me in The Bone People too, a very different book that I liked.

  8. I have really enjoyed both of Sarah Addison Allen's books and I am really looking forward to the next one!

  9. This was such an entertaining book. I agree -- Evanelle is a great character.I really need to get a copy of The Sugar Queen. Everyone tells me it's even better. What am I waiting for?!

  10. I read this last summer and loved it. Thanks for reviewing it again!

  11. Hooray, I'm glad you liked it! I really liked Evanelle, too. And the tree was hilarious, it had a personality all its own.

  12. What a beautiful cover, I'd be tempted to pick it up for that alone. It sounds different but good!


Thanks for commenting, so nice of you to visit.

(I'll try without the letters for a while - so please dont be a spammer! Let's try no anonymous users)