Amanda's Reviews > Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
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Feb 27, 11


** spoiler alert ** This was a pleasant if slight and fluffy book, but I couldn't quite get past the fact that I was basically reading a retelling of the movie "Practical Magic," only set in the South and done in pleasant pastels. With a dash of marital rape/abuse thrown in, which was jarring as hell in contrast to the rest of the book. (It wasn't like the book "Practical Magic," which I swear I've read but can't recall much of.)

There's two sisters who are magical from a long line of magical women in a town where everyone knows they are witches and shuns/uses them. One sister is lonely and lives in the big spooky house that the family has lived in for hundreds of years. One sister hates her family legacy and runs away, then gets into trouble and comes home. There's the eccentric older female relative -- in this case, a cousin instead of a pair of aunts. Evanelle, the cousin in question, is unquestionably the most interesting character and I loved her and wanted more of her and less of the two mopey sisters whinging about their love life when there are two perfect men flinging themselves at the girls' feet. And, of course, there's the wise and precocious dsaughter(s) who sees things with the innocence of youth. There's the run-away sister's bad ex who is the main conflict, a cast of clever townspeople, and, of course, the small magics of a kitchen/garden witch.

See? It's JUST like Practical Magic.

In particular, I was annoyed at how family=destiny in the books. If you were born to this family, you were great in bed and hate the Waverlys. It doesn't matter how many generations went by, that's just the way it is. Writing an eccentric little Southern town requires a little more finesse than that.

The descriptions of the food and the flowers were, perhaps, the best thing in the book. Wish she'd included some recipes. I did like the herbary in the back, though.
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