Bonnie's Reviews > Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
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's review
Mar 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: chick-lit, foods-yum-yum, adult, magical-realism, re-read, owned-book, z-2014, romance-contemporary

Garden Spells tells the story of two gifted sisters: Claire Waverley, a successful caterer in their hometown who has a decidedly magical touch with food, and Sydney, the younger sister who left town at an early age only to run into trouble forcing her to return to Bascom, North Carolina with her six year old daughter, Bay. Sydney left her hometown in an attempt to run from what it means to be a Waverley, and the magical gifts they have, as well as from the heartbreak caused by the breakup with her high school boyfriend. While Sydney bounced from city to city, Claire remained in their childhood home where their late grandmother lived and led a quiet life of solitude until Sydney came back into her life.

Garden Spells centers around the two Waverley sisters but manages to incorporate a full cast into a small amount of pages without overdoing it. My favorite character was Evanelle, a “second or third or fourteenth cousin” that also has her own unique gift: she would get sudden urges to gift individuals with certain items which they would inevitably need sooner or later. She was a complete hoot and added a distinct sense of humor to the tale. We’re also given passages told from the points of view of love interests, other townsfolk and six-year-old Bay who possesses the gift for knowing just exactly where things belong. Garden Spells is so heartwarming and realistic seeing two sisters who had grown apart over the years reintegrate one another into their lives. On top of the wonderful magical flairs, it’s also the perfect read for fans of what I like to call “foodie fiction”. Claire, being an owner of a catering business, is often cooking and her delicious sounding masterpieces are described in intricate detail.

‘Anise hyssop honey butter on toast, angelica candy, and cupcakes with crystallized pansies made children thought. Honeysuckle wine served on the Fourth of July gave you the ability to see in the dark. The nutty flavor of the dip made from hyacinth bulbs made you feel moody and think of the past, and the salads made with chicory and mint had you believing that something good was about to happen, whether it was true or not.’

Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favorite authors and I don’t say that lightly. I can always count on her books to have a whimsical tale that will put a smile on my face and lead me to hours of enjoyment. Oddly enough, I didn’t always have such a high opinion of her. Garden Spells was actually the first book of hers I read and I honestly didn’t care for it, but after going on to read all of her works and loving each and every one of them, I knew I had to revisit this and give it another shot through a different set of eyes. The second time around went much better and I enjoyed it greatly. Why the change? I remember the first time I kept comparing it to the movie/book Practical Magic without bothering to note the differences plus it was my first foray into magical realism so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. (I also read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake around the same time and disliked it greatly so I’m thinking a re-read of that may be in order.) This is the first time I’ve gone back attempting to give a book I disliked another shot. In my mind it always seems like a waste of time because if you disliked it the first time, why would it be different the second time? Well, if I take anything from this experience it’s that it won’t be the last time.
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Reading Progress

March 16, 2011 – Shelved
June 9, 2011 – Shelved as: chick-lit
August 24, 2011 – Shelved as: foods-yum-yum
July 25, 2012 – Shelved as: adult
July 25, 2013 – Shelved as: magical-realism
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: re-read
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: tbr-owned-print
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: owned-book
November 18, 2014 – Started Reading
November 18, 2014 –
page 27
8.88% "Chapter 2"
November 19, 2014 –
page 50
16.45% "'Sometimes people who had been together for a long time got to imagining that things used to be better, even when they weren't. Memories, even hard memories, grew soft like peaches as they got older.'"
November 20, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
November 20, 2014 – Finished Reading
November 12, 2015 – Shelved as: romance-contemporary

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela YESSS!!!

Kara LOL I read 172 pages last night. I have problems.

Bonnie HA! That's totally fine. I'll (try) to catch up today. :D

Kara You have time! I am playing Warcraft this evening. :P

Bonnie hahaha Okay, great. But don't feel you have to stop for me. I'll catch up quick. :)

message 6: by Navessa (new) - added it

Navessa You totally sold me. This looks frigging awesome.

Bonnie It's a very cute read. Have you read anything of hers?

message 8: by Navessa (new) - added it

Navessa I haven't. The Peach Keeper is also on my list. People just seem to love her.

Bonnie Her stories are fun and whimsical and have the cutest romances. They're definitely light, fluffy reads. The Sugar Queen is probably my favorite.

message 10: by Navessa (new) - added it

Navessa ADDED!

Bonnie Hope you like them. :)

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