Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review - Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

TITLE:    Garden Spells
AUTHOR/EDITOR:    Sarah Addison Allen
INFO:    Hardback, Fiction, 290 pages
PUBLISHED:   Bantam Dell, 2007
ISBN#:   978-0-553-80548-2
HOW'D I GET IT:   Swapped

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 TAKE:   I thought this was a sweet book.  It had several elements that I really enjoyed and could relate to.  The language of food is something that I get a lot out of, the same with flowers and plants.  The author did a nice job of sharing that information with the reader without "teaching or preaching".  I grow a lot of herbs and am an avid gardener so that part of the story was interesting for me.

The characters were light and sometimes predictable, but I did have a favorite ~ the mischievous apple tree in the back yard!  I think I would have a blast with that guy out back.  I think I'd have to lure some of my less-beloved friends and family into his range.  

The plot reminded me quite a bit of "Practical Magic" which is one of my absolute favorites, but it was still an enjoyable read.  Fans of that movie and light romance will have a good time reading this one.
MY RATING:    3.5/5

TO BUY IT:    Garden Spells, IndieBoundThe Book Depository

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


  1. I enjoyed this book a lot. You are right - its good for light reading.

  2. This was one of my favorites last year. I loved that apple tree!


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