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Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
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Garden Spells (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Sarah Addison Allen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,3752651,610 (4.03)1 / 443
Member:amysisson
Title:Garden Spells
Authors:Sarah Addison Allen (Author)
Info:Bantam (2007), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:small magics, gardens, sisters, domestic and child abuse, family traits, North Carolina, hair stylists, read in 2012, first read 2012, non-pic, non-juv, clairvoyance, non-short, family curses and gifts

Work details

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (2007)

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English (261)  German (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (263)
Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
I've only read two books by Sarah Addison Allen (this and Lost Lake), but I can already tell that I like her style. As with my first review, I should say that this book is tailor made for me. It has everything I love in a book and was the perfect light read for while I was (am!) busier than ever writing the first paper for my thesis. That said, this book will probably work best for you if you share my love of quirky characters, interconnected stories, and plots where everything works out neatly. SAA does all of these things well. She also does an exceptional job incorporating all of the things I love about magical realism in general, which include:

5. It requires no explanation. When I read fantasy, I generally like the magical system to obey clearly defined rules. With magical realism, I still like the magic to be internally consistent, but I feel like I can relax more and just accept that the magic is what it is.

4. It is an explanation. At the same time, magical realism often makes it make sense that everything will work out perfectly. While I enjoy books where everything comes together neatly at the end, sometimes that becomes too unbelievable. A pinch of magic helps explain why everything would work out.

3. It helps make quirky characters. Magical realism is always the addition of a pinch of magic to our world and I find that the best authors make that magic a part of their characters' personalities. The magic suits them, it helps define who they are, and it makes them even more quirky and unique.

2. It's always creative. The fusion of magic and reality to create an entirely new world usually leads to something that feels different from anything else I've read. Some of the least derivative books I've read are part of this genre.

1. It inspires a sense of wonder. As I said in my Lost Lake review, I like happy stories and there isn’t much that’s more optimistic than magic that you almost believe could exist. My very favorite thing about magical realism is the way it transforms the everyday into something amazing.

All of these elements are part of why I fell in love with Garden Spells and can't wait to read the sequel First Frost this week!This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
1 vote DoingDewey | Jan 29, 2015 |
Really glad I picked this one up. Sarah Addison Allen has a wonderful way of weaving magic into her story that makes it feel real. Her characters and their relationships with each other was also beautifully done. What I loved most is how every person described in the book is fleshed out to the point where even the characters you don't necessarily like you feel sympathy for because you know where they are coming from.

I will definitely be picking up another book by Allen in the future. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Perfect for the times you need to believe in magic and happy endings. ( )
  MaureenCean | Jan 10, 2015 |
One of my absolutely favorite reads!!!! I've read this book at least a dozen times. Light and enchanting read - very "Practical Magic" movie. ( )
  Staci09 | Jan 2, 2015 |
This wasn't exactly the book I was looking for, but I enjoyed the whiff of garden-magic and several of the characters quite a bit.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Addison Allenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen, Sarah Addisonmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ericksen, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my mom. I love you.
First words
Every smiley moon, without fail, Claire dreamed of her childhood.
Quotations
When you're happy for yourself, it fills you. When you're happy for someone else, it pours over.
When you tell a secret to someone, embarrassing or not, it forms a connection.  That person means something to you simply by virtue of what he knows.
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Haiku summary
Flowers have powers,
Family magic runs deep,
This garden sparkles.
(SylviaC)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553590324, Mass Market Paperback)

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is 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.…

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, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts 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—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. 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.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The Waverleys of Bascom, North Carolina, are a curious family--even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. When Sydney returns home with a daughter of her own, she and her sister Claire must deal with their legacy.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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