Rated Reads

Garden Spells

by Sarah Addison Allen

Rated: Moderate

The first thing I noticed about this novel is the descriptions. It’s there in the first sentence: “smiley moon” rather than crescent, or even sliver of a moon, sure. But, it doesn’t stop there; it’s scattered throughout the book. Addison’s talent, at least in my opinion, is not necessarily in plots or characters, but in lush, memorable descriptions of small-town South, with a magical twist.

Claire is a Waverly, which means she tends to a garden and knows its secrets — what the plants can do to a person — and how to use them. She runs a successful catering business, and everything is just fine, until her estranged sister, Sydney, moves back to town — she’s on the run from an abusive boyfriend — with her daughter Bay. Oh, and art professor Tyler moves in next door. Of course, Sydney will have difficulties readjusting to small-town life in Bascom, North Carolina. Of course there will be conflicts with her old school friends (who never really were her friends, and I felt the sub-plot was a bit forced, and kind of unnecessary). Of course Claire and Tyler will fall in love. Of course there will be a happily ever after.

But that’s not the point. The point is the nurturing and the giving and the growing. The point is characters like the sisters’ aunt, Evanelle, whose magic is to give things. The point is family and belonging are what really matters. The point is Southern summer days. The point is food that makes you feel, makes you love, makes you regret. The point is an apple tree that wants to be a part of the family. The point is sentences where you can nearly feel and smell what they are describing.

And the result is a magical, sweet, delightful summer read.

Rated: Moderate. There are four instances of the f-bomb, and several (very tasteful and not graphic) sex scenes, as well as non-graphic discussions of sex.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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Great book review Garden Spells
  • Garden Spells
  • by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: