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Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: A Review

Confession time. I have been a terrible reader in 2015. Remember how I said I want to reach a goal of 35 books this year? I must have been out of my mind. Reading has definitely taken a backseat to the rest of the things I have going on, like creating 90-day blog and business plans, building steps to take this site to the next level and start a successful freelance career. I've managed to sneak some reading in but between the endless pile of magazines growing a fire hazard in the corner of my room and no motivation to do anything at night but sleep has proved challenging. The one book I've managed to complete since  Jackaby is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and what an escape it was. What Goodreads Says 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.

Source: Goodreads

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.

What I Say I love this book. Sarah Addison Allen knows exactly what she's doing when it comes to creating a captivating novel that doubles as a super easy read. I was pulled into Garden Spells from page one and could not put the thing down. I read this in two nights. Amazing, I know. Considering I haven't read more than 200 pages in three months other than this book, that's a huge accomplishment. Something that Allen has a knack for is creating a story with the supernatural without feeling superficial or out of the ordinary. The Waverlys have special abilities, powers you can call them, but nothing so extreme that it feels completely unrealistic. Well, nothing except for the apple tree with a personality.

I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much was because I related to Claire in a lot of ways. She likes to keep to herself and she likes patterns and routine. She doesn't like things to change much and she doesn't like new people coming into her life. She's much more severe where these things are concerned than I am but I understand her hesitations and discomfort more than I'd like to admit. Opening herself up to this new guy, Tyler, was a huge thing for her and I loved experiencing her character transformation. Anyway, this is a great book and I one hundred percent recommend it. If you're looking for an easy but really great read, Garden Spells is just for you. If you like a little out of the ordinary, even better. Between mixing herbs and plants, apple trees with attitude and an old lady with a keen sense of the future, you won't be bored. You just might even find yourself laughing without realizing it.

Have you read Garden Spells or any other book by Sarah Addison Allen? Tell me what you think in the comments and tell me what you're reading.

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