October 06, 2012
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Waverly's are known for not being quite right; something about them is just different from the other people in town. But then again the townsfolk family lines are all known for something. For instance, the Hopkins men always marry older women the Clark women have a certain prowess in bed. But the Waverly's, what they do is out of the ordinary, and the garden of their's, with its special apple tree, is just the beginning. Claire Waverly, who spent her first six years of life with her nomadic mother, doesn't like change, she prefers to work at her catering business living up to people's expectations. But when her sister Sydney comes back, with daughter Bay in tow, she knows she has to learn to like a little change, if only for their sakes.
I like both of the Waverly sisters. They couldn't be more different, but you can watch them grow closer throughout the novel. And the way that was done was authentic. Bay especially was a sweet little girl and her presence was definitely needed in the novel. But I think the best character was Evanelle. She was interesting and her role in the book was pretty important. She just had a way of knowing what was needed. Even the leading men in the book were likable but not too perfect as to be unbelievable. I found myself rooting for them the whole way.
While the plot kind of meandered, it did so in a nice way. You just wanted to know what would happen for the sisters. And the apple tree, doing its thing, just kind of worked along with that. There were several subplots, about the townspeople, and this actually brought some needed points in the novel. It showed that people are going to do what they're going to do, despite what the "main" people of the book are doing. And they also taught some important life lessons; and who knows if that was the author's intention. Descriptions abound in this book and I especially loved all the different foods that Claire made. I only wished there were some recipes included, but alas, I didn't see any. I should point out that there is sex, violence, and mentions of abuse in this book. They aren't over-glorified by any means, but rather important to the story as a whole.
One of my favorite books I've read this year. I just found it very charming and the characters very likable. I'll definitely be reading more books by Allen.