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Garden Spells: A Novel

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Garden Spells: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780553805482
ISBN10: 0553805487
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Two gifted sisters draw on their talents to belatedly forge a bond and find their ways in life in Allen's easygoing debut novel. Thirty-four-year-old Claire Waverley manifests her talent in cooking; using edible flowers, Claire creates dishes that 'affect the eater in curious ways.' But not all Waverley women embrace their gifts; some, including Claire's mother, escape the family's eccentric reputation by running away. She abandoned Claire and her sister when they were young. Consequently, Claire has remained close to home, unwilling to open up to new people or experiences. Claire's younger sister, Sydney, however, followed in their mother's footsteps 10 years ago and left for New York, and after a string of abusive, roustabout boyfriends, returns to Bascom, N.C., with her five-year-old daughter, Bay. As Sydney reacquaints herself with old friends and rivals, she discovers her own Waverley magic. Claire, in turn, begins to open up to her sister and in the process learns how to welcome other possibilities. Though Allen's prose can lean toward the pedestrian and the romance subplots feel perfunctory, the blending of horticultural folklore, the supernatural and a big dollop of Southern flavor should find favor with a wide swath of readers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"It's refreshing to find a Southern novel that doesn't depend on folksy humor or stereotypes but instead on the imaginative use of magical realism. Just buy it, read it, and recommend it to others." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Spellbindingly charming, Allen's impressively accomplished debut novel will bewitch fans of Alice Hoffman and Laura Esquivel, as her entrancing brand of magic realism nimbly blends the evanescent desires of hopeless romantics with the inherent wariness of those who have been hurt once too often." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Allen has a knack for creating charming, offbeat characters." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"[A] delightful story of relationships, family, romance and the many things that drive all of them." Bookreporter.com

About the Author

Sarah Addison Allen lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Melissa Ryan, February 9, 2009 (view all comments by Melissa Ryan)
Though I typically favor non fiction, I needed a respite for my overly stimulated brain and found it in Allen's charming, warm novel. I was quickly pulled into this magical garden and it's keeper, readily identified with more than one character in the book and was quite sad to see it end so soon! Definitely movie material. These are the kind of people one hopes to have present in their lives ... authentic, deep feeling humans with a bit of magic thrown into the mix. A highly visual, easy read...a fun & colorful tale. The perfect antidote to the gloom & doom the evening News bombards us with day in and day out.

Step into the garden, but watch out for that apple tree! It has a mind of its own...
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Suzanne Haugh, January 16, 2008 (view all comments by Suzanne Haugh)
This book started strong, but whittled away into what I would call a romance novel ending. It was a quick read, "fluffier" than I like. The more interesting aspects of the charactors weren't explored, such as the magical talents of the sisters. In the beginning I was happily reminded of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic, but in the end this book can't hold a candle to it.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Shannon Cave, November 20, 2007 (view all comments by Shannon Cave)
Absolutely enchanting! The characters are fabulously real and the story has enough twists and turns not to be cliched. I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end!
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780553805482
Publisher:
Bantam
Subject:
General
Author:
Allen, Sarah Addison
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
North carolina
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
August 28, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.32x5.84x1.05 in. .90 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Contemporary
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Paranormal

Garden Spells: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 304 pages Random House - English 9780553805482 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Two gifted sisters draw on their talents to belatedly forge a bond and find their ways in life in Allen's easygoing debut novel. Thirty-four-year-old Claire Waverley manifests her talent in cooking; using edible flowers, Claire creates dishes that 'affect the eater in curious ways.' But not all Waverley women embrace their gifts; some, including Claire's mother, escape the family's eccentric reputation by running away. She abandoned Claire and her sister when they were young. Consequently, Claire has remained close to home, unwilling to open up to new people or experiences. Claire's younger sister, Sydney, however, followed in their mother's footsteps 10 years ago and left for New York, and after a string of abusive, roustabout boyfriends, returns to Bascom, N.C., with her five-year-old daughter, Bay. As Sydney reacquaints herself with old friends and rivals, she discovers her own Waverley magic. Claire, in turn, begins to open up to her sister and in the process learns how to welcome other possibilities. Though Allen's prose can lean toward the pedestrian and the romance subplots feel perfunctory, the blending of horticultural folklore, the supernatural and a big dollop of Southern flavor should find favor with a wide swath of readers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "It's refreshing to find a Southern novel that doesn't depend on folksy humor or stereotypes but instead on the imaginative use of magical realism. Just buy it, read it, and recommend it to others."
"Review" by , "Spellbindingly charming, Allen's impressively accomplished debut novel will bewitch fans of Alice Hoffman and Laura Esquivel, as her entrancing brand of magic realism nimbly blends the evanescent desires of hopeless romantics with the inherent wariness of those who have been hurt once too often."
"Review" by , "Allen has a knack for creating charming, offbeat characters."
"Review" by , "[A] delightful story of relationships, family, romance and the many things that drive all of them."
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