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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Garden Spells ...

… by Sarah Addison Allen … a review

In Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen has created a cast full of people you will care about, and the magic in the story will enchant you so much that you won’t be able to put it down. The writing is full of vividly drawn imagery, realistically captured emotion; and intrigue which will keep you gripped to the last page.

You’ll need to know what happens to sisters Claire and Sydney, and you’ll have to find out how Sydney’s daughter, Bay, tries to make everything right in her world. All three of them are Waverleys , and Waverleys are different. This is where the magic comes in – literally – and takes the book to a higher level.

As Sarah says on her website, Garden Spells ‘was supposed to be a simple story about two sisters reconnecting after many years. But then the apple tree started throwing apples and the story took on a life of its own...’

The special powers of the Waverley sisters make this book more than just a romantic family story. With magic as part of the mix, you just don’t know what will happen next. And Claire’s recipes, which will cure everything from curiosity to a broken heart, keep the book grounded in a sphere which feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

As Claire cooks, you’ll taste the marigolds in your mouth and the lilac jelly exploding on your tongue. You’ll smell the lavender and the mint as you move through her house with her, and you’ll hear the thump of apples landing on the grass in her garden.

Every character in the book is important, from Aunt Evanelle who just knows that she has to give people certain things but doesn’t know why, to Fred who can’t understand why his boyfriend has left him, and Tyler who wants Claire so much it makes him give off purple sparks. Even the characters we don’t get to meet – like Claire and Sydney’s mother – seem real.

And of course, in the centre of it all, is that unruly tree that throws apples at people … and only learns to behave and stop when Bay starts throwing them back.

After all this, the breathtaking conclusion to the book will leave you feeling drained and longing for a sequel.

The paperback edition is released by Hodder in May. I’ll post a reminder nearer the time.

PS - is it just me, or has blogger gone totally insane?

11 comments:

Yvonne said...

That sounds great, would be interested in getting the paperback.

And yes, Blogger has gone insane!

HelenMH said...

Thanks Yvonne - I regularly have 'issues' with Blogger, but this evening it really does seem to have lost the plot! Glad it's not just me!

Pacha said...

Fantastic review of what sounds like a fantastic book. Shall have to get hold of it. AND YES, BLOGGER HAS LOST IT!

Debs said...

Sounds lovely, I shall definately look out for the paperback

I dont know about blogger but my keyboard is missing out letters as I type and driving me nuts.

HelenMH said...

Pacha - yes it is a fantastic book, I'm so glad I read it.

Debs - the paperback cover is soooo pretty as well!

Helen said...

Hi Helen, great review it sounds a lovely book to read. One to savour. I will read it a bit closer to the release date in May (that's not long now is it?!)

Lane said...

Will look out for it when the paperback's out. Sounds very good indeed.

Blogger is being extremely norty indeed:-)
x

KAREN CLARKE said...

Sounds good - bit like Alice Hoffman?? Love the cover too :o)

HelenMH said...

Helen - I'm sure you'll enjoy it, it's a great read.

Lane - I loved it! And thsnks for all your help x

Karen - ooh, I don't know Alice Hoffman.

Anonymous said...

Sounds and looks like a lovely book. Thanks for the review.

HelenMH said...

Thanks Anon - it's a great book!