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