Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen was originally published in 2007. My paperback copy is 290 pages. From the description of Garden Spells, it appeared to be a book I would easily dismiss as too close to a light fluffy chick lit romance, but I picked it up on the recommendation of Dana, who hasn't steered me wrong yet. Garden Spells is not fine literature, but it is a whimsical, charming book overflowing with fragrances. There were parts of this book that made my heart and senses soar. Toward the end it did dance a little too closely to a romance novel for my personal taste and the danger in the climax never felt real, but this is a very pleasant, magical book. I kept thinking that it reminded me of another author and then it hit me: it reminds me of some of Alice Hoffman's books. Garden Spells provides a very delightful escape into a book. Rating: 4
Synopsis from cover:
In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small house in the smallest of towns, is an apple tree rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.Quotes:
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation. For the Waverley history is in the soil. and so are their futures.
A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, distributes unexpected presents whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.
When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom...or with each other.
"Every smiley moon, without fail, Claire dreamed of her childhood." first sentence
"Something was about to happen, something the garden wasn't ready to tell her yet. She would have to keep a sharp eye out." pg. 5
"Business was doing well, because all the locals knew that the dishes made from the flowers that grew around the apple tree in the Waverley garden could affect the eater in curious ways." pg. 10-11
" 'I don't have anywhere else to go,' Sidney said, forcing the words out, like spitting sunflower-seed shells to the sidewalk, where they stuck and baked in the sun, getting harder and harder." pg. 41-42
"Gladioli here...where the nutmeg stuffing in the squash blossoms and fennel chicken will be. Roses here, where the rose petal scones will go." pg. 90
"Bay had dreamed of this place a long time ago. She'd known they were coming here." pg. 110
"He was footing the bill to renovate the attic space, and workers with nice posteriors started showing up, which Evanelle enjoyed so much she shoved a chair to the base of the stairs just so she could sit and watch them walk up." pg. 160
"...but new friends took time. History took time." pg. 163