Last Tuesday, the 14th, was my two year blogoversary! I’d forgotten until WordPress reminded me. Thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and follows, for encouraging me to keep going! 😀



TBR Pile challenge (from Roof Beam Reader), found at Tasseled Book Blog. It’s time to get through that stack of unread books!


Book for January: Garden Spells; Sarah Addison Allen.

Garden Spells

In an attempt to add to the number of books in my TBR pile I actually own, a good friend of mine bought me the Kindle version of this book to get my challenge/year started off with some magic.  No, really, thanks, Marcia! 🙂

4 star

A story above family and belonging, love and hope, and the kind of small-town magic that’s passed down a family. Magical realism and romance wrapped into a a lovely story.

In Bascom, North Carolina, some families have a little magic in them, and the Waverley’s have more than most–the women preside over a magic apple tree and a garden with herbs and edible flowers that cause small changes in the minds of the people who eat them. Claire and Sydney are the two youngest Waverleys, but Sydney left and tried to become someone different, while Claire embraced their strange heritage in the form of a catering company. Sydney takes after their deceased mother, who rejected their heritage and also traveled, and an elderly cousin named Evanelle who shares their eccentric family magic.

The two sisters are contrasts, a wild child who has traveled far and made some mistakes, and an overly controlled, older than her years businesswoman. When Sydney returns home with her daughter Bay, conflicts are bound to happen. Sydney is very closemouthed about her past, and Claire is so worried that Sydney will leave again that she’s afraid to pry. Secrets have a way of coming home, no matter how hard you hide.

The story is undeniably sweet, a lovely mix of magic and the real world–the well crafted escapism of magical realism. If you can’t relate to stressed, lonely Sydney, you’ll understand Claire, who’s looking for a place to belong. And the other characters, male and female, are well-rounded, though some don’t get quite the amount of attention they deserve. Watching them fall in love is enjoyable, if a little quick in places–but it is magic, after all.

There’s three love stories–enough to account for most of for most of the main characters. The problem is, one gets a lot of attention and page space, the second gets noticeably less, and the third gets barely a mention. Dividing these three stories over two books, perhaps, would have given each romance equal attention, instead of making them feel rushed or like an afterthought.

Recommended for lovers of food and cooking, family, and romance.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

8 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    I agree, I wanted more, but only because what I did get was so darn good. I just love the way Sarah Addison Allen writes. Some of her lines are sheer poetry. I was hooked on the first page when I read, “Claire had added flowers to the garden to give her something to do at night when she was so wound up that frustration singed the edge of her nightgown and she set tiny fires with her fingertips.” To me, that is pure magic. Glad you finally read it, Caitlin, and I hope it was worth the time.

    And you’re welcome. Always glad to add something else to your To Be Read pile! What are friends for, after all? 🙂

  2. Marcia says:

    PS…Happy WordPress Anniversary!

  3. Andrea says:

    Happy two years! You off to a great start, keep it up and most importantly – have fun!

  4. […] Garden Spells; Sarah Addison Allen […]

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