Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

336 pages
Adult fiction
Hodder Paperback
Bought book online

Welcome toBascom,North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about theWaverley women. The house that's been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. EveryWaverley woman is somehow touched by magic. Claire has always clung to the Waverleys' roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies -- famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs -- until one day she waked to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden ...Claire's carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control

Deliciously enchanting and wondrous. This novel is full of old family secrets, small town legends and local history.  I loved this book from the beginning and was both surprised and delighted that it didn't follow the same paths as similar books. I am new to this author and am intrigued to read more of her books.

I bought this book a while ago, online and was positively enchanted by the whimsical cover, the blurb description and the price. There were of course some obvious doubts about the novel before I began it such as: the title(yes, it is a little cheesy and expected), The set-up (the whole small town magic thing seemed a little "Practical Magic" to me) and the unknown directions of the plot(I've noticed in these kinds of stories that their is either a fairytale love or a bit of a witch hunt or both). I am pleased to say though, that the only doubtful thing about the novel is it's title, which is a little unoriginal(mabye it's just me?).

The novel had this great depth about it where you could learn of many peoples lives in the story without being irrelevant to the story line. The writing was not overly intelligent(which is a good thing, because it allows for understanding)yet sophisticated and descriptive. It was magical without branching much into the fantasy genre and allowed readers to choose how they read the book.

Each one of the Waverly women had a special "thing". It was kind of like a "magical" gift, but were things that don't venture too far from normality. This made it so much easier to read as it wasn't far fetched. Also the sisters cater for parties using flowers in the food from their magical garden. I thought this was nice because it actually something that a lot of  chefs have done to try and make their dishes more unique and elegant in the real world. Like a spell the flowers influence and sway the thoughts of those who eat it, so it could be considered no different than aroma-therapy or drugs. In the back of the novel there is a little directory of different edible flowers and what influences they have on people.

The Ending of the book was not exactly amazing, but it did finish it off without dragging out too much. I guess it was the sort of book that I never wanted to end. If you love to read books that are rich in description, a mixture of reality and realism, that deal with sisterhood, motherhood, love and learning of love then you will really enjoy this book. This is a novel to keep and I will decorate my shelf with it's pretty cover and spine for years to come.

Otherbooks by this author:
-'The Peach Keeper'
-'The Girl Who Chased The Moon'
-'The Sugar Queen'

Books I Recomend:
-'The Third Angel' by Alice Hoffman
-'The Forgotten Garden' by Kate Morton
-'My Name is Memory' by Anne Brashares

Books Shelfari Recommends:
-'The Witches Daughter' by Paula Brackston
-'A Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness
-'The Love Godess' Cooking School' by Melissa Senate


Candace said...

I read this book AGES and AGES ago and really enjoyed it. Her writing was good and the story was awesome because it was like magical realism. A more subtle magic I guess. That is, if I'm remembering correctly.

Natalie_vintage_girl said...

Yes definitely more subtle than straight out fantasy :) Thanks for following :)