Sunday, February 3, 2008

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen Book Review

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
(Hardcover, Bantam)


In Bascom, North Carolina, every family has certain roles to play. The Clarks use their beauty as their shield (and thus they always marry well). The Hopkins' boys are young in age but always old at heart. And the Wayverlys, they are always a bit unusual, each endowed with strange gifts that hint at magic. Garden Spells tells the story of two Wayverly sisters, Claire and Sydney, who never seemed to get along as kids but have been thrown back together as adults. Sydney and her daughter, Bay, are on the run from Bay's abusive father and so they seek shelter with Claire. Magic, small town gossip, and romance all weave together to create an irresistible tale.

Garden Spells is a beautifully written, entertaining read. I loved the magical elements of the story and the tension and affection between the sisters. Claire is a recluse, afraid to make connections with people because they always leave. Sydney is a wanderer, always leaving so that people can't leave her first. Tying the story together are the minor characters - Bay, the daughter who magically knows where everything and everyone belongs, Evanelle, the aunt who has urges to give people items that will later come in very handy, and the apple tree in the backyard. You may be wondering why I consider an apple tree to be a character. Well, this is no ordinary apple tree and that's all I'll say. I haven't actually reviewed many books for this site about small town life, which is strange because that is one of my favorite settings for books. Small towns always bring out such great characters. I didn't touch much on the romantic elements but they are definitely present. Claire actually accidentally sets things on fire when she thinks about her new neighbor, Tyler. Definite romantic elements, but the heart of the story is about family and sisterhood.

This book comes out in paperback in April and I would recommend putting it on your wishlist if you're looking for a fun book to read in the spring. The author has another book coming out in May called The Sugar Queen. Here's a great excerpt that my mom found:
"Books can be possessive, can't they? You're walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what's inside will change your life, but sometimes you don't even have to read it. Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book around."
I loved this quote and I can't wait to read the rest of the book! One last thing, the covers of both are beautiful. I definitely have a thing for nice covers.


  1. First, thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I just love your site and enjoyed reading some of your past reviews (I too am a Stephenie Meyer fan and just finished Eclipse last month, which I reviewed on my blog. Thanks so much for the info on Garden Spells. I keep seeing this at the book store, but hadn't even picked it up to read what it is about. Now I will be adding it to my wishlist!

  2. Nice review! I saw this book at the store when it was new and thought it looked interesting. Sounds like something I should read. The quote you provided from the new book coming out is great! I'll probably be looking into reading that once as well.

  3. I love the cover on this book and your review makes it sound just as good. A definite addition to the TBR list for when it's out in paperback.

  4. I just finished 'Garden Spells" and you are right on! A very magical book, indeed. In fact, I just now thought of who I should send it to! (Inspired by Evanelle, I guess.) Looking forward to 'Sugar Queen.'

  5. I still haven't read Sugar Queen but my mom assures me that it is just as good (and my mom has good taste in books). :)

  6. Reading Garden Spells now although I have a different cover, I wanted to read it because I have a daughter named Sydney. It is very good though and I will look out for the other one.


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