Back in 2010, I started the book blog Books Make Me Happy. I spent many years happily reviewing and talking to amazing bookish peeps at that site. In 2018, between a frustrating, snafu-filled web host move and lots going on outside of the blogiverse, I lost my motivation and closed the page down. Now — I’ve got my blog mojo back a bit, and am having a fantastic time with this new site. I love sharing new things, but hate the idea of losing so many awesome posts from the old blog. So… every now and then, I’m going to re-post something that originated there. A review of a book I loved, a chat with a favorite author, etc. At the end — I’ll add any new thoughts I have.
If you followed me here from BMMH, hope you love these little “blasts from the past”. If you’re new to my bookish world, I hope you find some new (old) things to check out!
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Title: Garden Spells
Format: Paperback, eBook
Original Release: August 28, 2007
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. This is the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…
Claire has everything she thinks she needs, until one day she wakes to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden… and her carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.
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.
I had no way of knowing, when I read this book and posted my review back in March of 2010, that Sarah Addison Allen would become one of my all time favorite authors. GARDEN SPELLS really solidified my love for magical realism, and Sarah’s books remain the cream of that crop, in my opinion. I recommend every. single. book. that she’s written. Also of note: her most recent release, FIRST FROST, is the first of her books that is not a standalone. It’s the follow up to GARDEN SPELLS, and is just as captivating. I’ll be sharing my reviews for more of Sarah’s books later in this series of “old blog” posts.