Thursday, November 01, 2007

[Book Review] GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen

Fiction/Women's Fiction

Beth reviews GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen (Bantam, 2007)

Perhaps it is from being raised on a farm in the southern Appalachians, but the depiction of earth magic in Garden Spells seemed completely natural to me. The thought of families having “legacies,” normal. My Nanny and Mammaw (grandmothers) always touted something herbal for your ailments and poultices seemed common. Sprained your ankle? Wrap it in strips of brown paper bags, soaked in vinegar. (Yes, it really works!) I’m currently seeking horse shoes to place above the entrances to my apartment—I want to catch my luck. This book, with its earth magic and family legacies, made me feel right at home.

This first novel by Sarah Addison Allen quickly had me immersed in the small town of Bascom, N.C. Thirty-four year old bachelorette Claire Waverley, of the Waverley ancestry, expresses her talent through cooking—she evokes emotions in those who eat or drink her homemade foodstuffs. However, not all Waverly’s appreciate their gifts—Claire’s mother ran away from her gift as does her sister, Sydney. Now, 10 years after leaving home, Sydney returns with her daughter, Bay, to the town she ran away from. As Sydney rediscovers her place in Bascom, she also learns of Claire’s fears of new places and experiences. Syndey's compassion for her sister allows her to discover and accept her own Waverley magic. The sisters slowly grow closer and learn to love each other—which brings with it new possibilities.

Curious as the best way to gain someone’s affection? Want someone to express their love? Sarah Addison Allen has included the Waverley’s Kitchen Journal for you to enjoy.

Beth, Highland Branch Library

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