Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own…

(My Turn)
I picked this book up on a whim - it was a staff recommended read at a local book store and I almost NEVER like their picks, but this book looked different. I am so 100% glad that I gave it a shot. This has to be one of the most haunting and strange books I've read and it quickly became my new favorite book and I've already read it 3 times in 2 months.

From the very start of the book "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." That is the very first two sentences of this book, and it truly grabs you with the glossy imagery she paints, but sometimes the rest of a book will pale in comparison to a good opening, but thankfully this is not the case with Garden Spells.

Ms Allen's writing is magical, and draws the reader into the character's lives while dealing primarily with finding peace and acceptance within and without, something every one searches for. The characters both living & non living are the driving force behind my love for this book, (there is very little action and yet, once you start reading, it is almost impossible to put down) compelling & drawing you into their lives. All of the characters are real people who have been hurt and who are afraid of being hurt again. You want to keep reading. You want to know that they can learn to trust. You want them to be worthy of trust. You start rooting for them. And yet what makes this a more than the normal drama, is that there is a magical element to the book. Almost all the characters have small, subtle magical gifts. From Evanelle who feels urged to give people small, random things to Claire, who's gourmet meals affect your mind and emotions to the magical apple tree, that likes to throw apples at people.

This is the kind of book I love to cuddle up in bed & read on days when the world seems dark and depressing. It is a light, enjoyable read and yet still thought provoking. Magic permeates the story. It's full of delightful quirky characters that make me smile.

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