Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: Bantam
Publication date: 2007
Pages: 320
Source: Library
For: Book Group

Claire Waverly has stayed in Bascom since the day her mother brought them home and she's made a name for herself as a caterer with unusually powerful food. Sydney left Bascom right out of high school and hasn't missed being called a Waverly or a witch at all. But, when Sydney unexpectedly returns bringing her young daughter, Claire tries to find room in her heart for them and Sydney must come to terms with who she is.

Things I Liked:
The best part of this book is the touch of magical realism.  The magic winds its way throughout and manifests in humorous and unexpected places.  The quirky characters were also a delight, particularly Evenelle.  These two elements, the magic and the (supporting) characters were what made the read enjoyable to me.  I wasn't particularly fond of either Sydney or Claire, but I think their relationship and how it changes was interesting.  The book has a nice charm to it as well and is quite easy to read making it a fun beach read.

Things I Didn't Like:
I was not as enamoured of the story and main characters as I expected (my book group members raved about it).  They all seemed to act in set ways because that's just How They Are.  Also, the writing was not spectacular and I thought that things were not quite as developed as they could have been (both characters and plot).  I expected a little bit more than I got, I think, but it was a fun story and would make a great film.

Other Sarah Addison Allen books will doubtless have that same magical realism
Reminded me a little of Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

s-factor: !@#$
regularly with a few f-bombs tossed in

a number of rather descriptive instances

v-factor: none

Overall rating:***

Do you have a favorite Sarah Addison Allen book?  Should I give her books another try?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. This was my first SAA book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it is not my favorite. Give The Peach Keeper a try next. Then The Sugar Queen. Those two are just lovely.

    1. I think I might give Peach Keeper a try - I've heard good things about it. But not right away :)

  2. I love Sarah Addison Allen's books, but Garden Spells one was my least favorite of the three that I've read. Sugar Queen is my favorite (it's great to read in the wintertime) and makes my list of all-time favorite books. I also loved The Girl Who Chased the Moon. That story really made me crave cake! I haven't read The Peach Keeper yet even though I own it because I've been saving it because I don't know when another book will be coming out by her.

    1. Hm, maybe I'll have to try Sugar Queen too. Gosh, there are a lot of SAA fans! Thanks, Sarah.

  3. The audio of this book is excellent. I just finished it and will post my review next week. Loved it!

    1. Ooh, I'm excited to read your thoughts on the audio!

  4. Have you read any of her other books? I've only read this one and The Sugar Queen. I liked them both.

    1. Nope, this was my first. Did you like Sugar Queen better?

  5. I also have heard great things about this author, but I read a few pages of her work and just wasn't impressed enough to keep going. Thanks for the honest review.

    1. I might not have even tried it, if not for book group. I think I'll give her another shot sometime.

  6. I could use a happy read! Thanks for the heads up ..I'll have to put this on my tbr.

    Marlene Detierro (NC Photo Booth)


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