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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daring You to Read… Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen


Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

Personally, I love the type of book where everything seems normal, but every time you turn the page, some paranormal/supernatural element sneaks into the life of the characters and makes the story bloom into a wonderful affair. I call this genre magical realism and I believe Sarah Addison Allen is one of best authors of this genre. GARDEN SPELLS was her debut novel and it was one of my favorite books read in 2009. This is why I decided to share it with you this week, by Daring You to Read it!

Once you open the pages of this book, you’ll be attracted to the college town charm that is Bascom, North Carolina. The characters are all wonderful, but I think my favourite is the main character, Claire, since I see so much of myself in her. Claire hates changes and you have to wonder why that is. Her shyness and insecurities add to the mystery that is Claire and I love how her interactions with the other characters reveal more and more about her throughout the book.

The romantic elements are so well and delicately written. The author definitively has her readers under a spell when it comes to love and romantic scenes. Her writing is simply magical and the way the paranormal elements are woven into the story is indescribable and unforgettable. If I was a teacher, I would grade this book A+, but since I’m a book reviewer, I’ll simply give it 5 stars.

It’s a stand-alone book but one of the characters makes brief appearances in other Sarah Addison Allen books, which I would also categorize into the magical realism genre. Here’s a little bit more about GARDEN SPELLS.

allen - garden spellsThe 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.

Excerpt and extra stuff

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

So, I dare you to read this book! And I dare you to take a bite out of one of the famous Waverley apples!


6 People left their mark' :

  1. I agree with you on this one - I loved this novel. The first one of Allen's books I read was The Sugar Queen. It wasn't til later that I read Garden Spells. I recently read The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I'm curious - which of the characters are in other books? At the moment, I can't think of any based on the three books I've read. I am looking forward to getting a few of her other books. They all seem to have the same theme and basic plot - but it's such fun reading, that I enjoy and look forward to turning each page. Each one that I;ve read has turned into that rare thing for me - a book I read in 18 hours or less. :)

    1. I'm glad you liked it as much as me! =D I could be wrong about which book, but Claire does make a brief appearance as a caterer in The Peach Keeper. So maybe I should have said book instead of books. My bad!

  2. Great choice! Garden Spells is my favourite Sarah Addison Allen book so far. I have yet to read The Girl Who Chased The Moon, but I am sure I will love it as much as I love her other works. Her characters are absolutely wonderful and the descriptions are superb. SAA introduced me to magical realism and has made me eager to try other authors in this field.

  3. I love all of her books! I have read them all and I want to reread them all as well! I can't wait for her next one

  4. I have the audio version on my iPod. It's gonna happen this summer! Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. I have been wondering if I should read this book, so I'm glad that you recommended it. It has been a part of my library's kindle lending system and I have not been sure if I should check it out or not. Thanks for the recommendation!