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review 2020-05-22 12:15
Review | Funk-N-Fiction: GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Delightful. 

Magical. 

Fantastical.

Bewitching. 

Heartwarming. 

Charming.

 

To be a Waverley in Bascom, NC is a special thing. Some would call that special thing natureal, some would call  it strange. Some would embrace it and some would run as far and and as fast as they could from it. Accept it or not, appreciate it or not, the Waverleys are special.

 

Claire and Sydney are sisters who had dramatically different childhoods. One seemed to inherit the talent to use the edible flowers in their family garden to create enchanted dishes. So many secrets get passed down from Grandma Waverley to an eager Claire. Sydney, however, distanced herself from the “special” label of the Waverley name and escaped from Bascom as soon as she graduated high school.

 

Years later, Sydney is trying to escape from something else, and comes home with her daughter. Both sisters struggle to overcome misunderstandings from their childhood, and choices they’ve made as adults. They learn to trust each other, and eventually themselves. Once their carefully constructed walls of doubt start to crumble, they discover the true magic of old family ties and new love.

 

I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. The story is told in such a magical, almost sing-song way. I love that it’s not told by just one character, as well. Many of the characters get to tell their own tale, from their own perspective. So many things going on, but all blending and weaving together. It’s comforting, and despite the very obvious supernatural aspects of the story, makes you believe. 

 

The story is full of funny, quirky side characters that just move into your heart and stay there. Evenelle, who will show up at any time of the day or night to give you something that she just KNOWS you’re going to need (and you do, always, end up needing it) is one of my favorites. Not everyone has a happy tale to share, but the friendships that get them through those not-happy times are just incredible.

 

This was the first, but will absolutely NOT be the last book I read from Sarah Addison Allen. She’s worked her story magic on me, and I have a feeling she’ll do the same to you.

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/05/03/garden-spells-sarah-addison-allen
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review 2019-12-23 09:31
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

TITLE:  Garden Spells

 

AUTHOR:  Sarah Addison Allen

___________________________

DESCRIPTION:

"The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories.

Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future."

______________________

REVIEW:

 

A beautifully told, nice, fluffy re-read for those end-of-year fried brains.

 

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review 2018-07-16 18:37
Garden Spells - - Magical Realism Done Very Well
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Funny, I love this book, but honestly don't remember the last time I read it. After finishing "Garden Spells" I went and read book two in the Waverley family again so that was a nice and and two punch. Allen does magical realism very well. This book deals with a lot of serious issues, rape, abuse, bullying, and the eccentricities of a small but unusual southern town in North Carolina.

 

"Garden Spells" reunites estranged sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverley. Claire is single and alone making a go of her special catering business in Bascom, North Carolina. She has her whole world turned upside down when she meets a man, Tyler Hughes, who despite her best efforts is interested in her.

 

Sydney has left her abusive partner and taken her daughter Bay back home to Bascom. She has hated Bascom since she left it and never wanted to be one of the strange Waverley's. All she wanted to do was fit in. Still nursing heartbreak over the first boy she ever loved (and lost) Sydney starts to finally embrace being a Waverley.

 

The book focuses not just on Claire and Sydney though. We also have Allen including other characters as well, we follow Claire and Sydney's cousin Evanelle, Sydney's daughter Bay, an old friend (not really friend) of Sydney's, and even Tyler and a potential love interest for Sydney. Allen manages to juggle everyone and keep the plot moving forward. I didn't feel lost about who people were and how they were connected. We also got delicious little comments about which each family is famous for in this book and that was pretty cute. 

 

The writing is magical realism at it's best. Allen makes you feel, smell, and even taste things. If you do things right, you can make the magical elements seem totally natural and Allen does. We hear about the Waverley family home, apple tree, and even how Claire's emotions affect things like having fog in the neighborhood.

 

The flow was very good and the setting of Bascom felt very real.

 

Great first book in the series. 

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review 2015-06-24 02:49
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells

Sarah Addison Allen

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published August 28th 2007 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2007)                   

ISBN 0553805487 (ISBN13: 9780553805482)   

also available in Kindle, Audio Cd, and Audible Audio

 

Garden Spells is a relaxing read. Sara Addison Allen developed the characters well, giving them and the little southern town personality and charm. I liked the little eccentricities built into the characters, making them unique. Allen built in a little personal history to each character as well, which is what built part of the plot. Each character had something in his or her past to come to terms with, and Allen was able to show how each character grew throughout the story. This is a quick read. There is romance, but one thing I enjoyed was how the character, Claire, used her garden and edible plants in her catering business. The author even included the meaning and use of some edible plants that were mentioned in the book.  This is the first in the Waverly Family Series and Sarah Addison Allen's debut novel. The 2nd, First Frost, was just published in January, 2015.

 

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review 2015-02-02 13:26
Garden Spells
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

I picked up Garden Spells for my ongoing Hogwarts Challenge, as it could on its own net me 8 points. 

 

I had never heard of it, but I really enjoyed reading it. The story follows the Waverly family who live in a town full of families with long histories and unusual traits, from dating older women, to gossiping, to one man being the strongest person in town even in his 90s.

 

The Waverly family is considered odd, even compared to the rest of the town. Each member seems to have some sort of ability, and the tree in the backyard has a mind of its own and apples that will supposedly show you either the best or worst moment of your life.

 

Claire is an amazing baker/chef/caterer whose food can bring joy and sadness. But everyone leaves her and she doesn't know how to act with an attractive interested neighbor. Her younger sister Sydney shows up after ten years with a daughter, Bay. Bay knows that they belong there. Claire's older cousin brings humor to the book in that she feels the need to give people things that they will need, even if she doesn't know why.

 

I loved the relationship between the two sisters as they grow to learn about each other. We don't get a lot of flashbacks to their childhood, but it's clear they were never close and we get to see a bond form in this book.

 

I really enjoyed this book and plan to pick up more by the author.

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