Book Review: Garden Spells

“[S]leepless as she often was, Claire had added flowers to the garden to give her something to do at night when she was so wound up that frustration singed the edge of her nightgown and she set tiny fires with her fingertips.”

Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen

Yes, you read that correctly.

Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen, was published in 2008 and is 320 pages.  It was recommended to me by literary agent Donald Maass at his Breakout Novel Intensive workshop.  It’s a work of magical realism in the style of Practical Magic, and it is utterly charming.

Whether they have something for you that you didn’t know you’d need or can cater a dinner party for you where the ingredients do more than satisfy physical hunger, the Waverly women are legendary around their small, North Carolina town for being a bit extraordinary.

Claire Waverly’s magic lies in her cooking, but a difficult upbringing has left her fearful of getting personal with her catering clients and neighbors.  When her estranged sister, Sydney, and Sydney’s daughter, Bay, return to town, however, Claire finds herself pulled from the comfort of routine and solitude into all the joys and uncertainties of new relationships.  When a piece of Sydney’s dark past threatens to destroy all the women build anew, the talents of the townspeople and the legendary Waverly garden combine forces to restore hope and peace among them.

I loved this book.  I’ve always been partial to fiction that lifts the reader out of reality by either placing her in another time or in another version of the current place.  Garden Spells did just that and more.  If you like books with a healthy dose of magic and hope, you’ll really enjoy this.

For more on the author, check out Sarah Addison Allen’s website.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Garden Spells

  1. Heather J. says:

    Can I just say “I told you so” … ? 🙂

    I was completely surprised by how much of a pleasure this book was to read.

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