by Sarah Addison Allen
Published: Bantam Dell, 2007
Source: e-book purchased from Barnes & Noble
Garden Spells is the perfect summer read: lightweight without being fluffy. (I don’t do fluffy books. Unless they have something else going for them, like making me laugh so hard I can barely breathe. Then I don’t mind fluff.) What sets Garden Spells apart from fluffy books is the writing. Sarah Addison Allen’s writing is like the garden in the novel: organically beautiful, never trying to be something other than what it is. She slips in these lines that are like violets nestled on the edge of a lawn: startling in their tiny beauty, and yet so easily overlooked. I hit a line like this just one paragraph into the novel:
. . . sleepless as she often was, 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. (7)
Oh, I love it.
One more thing before I tell you go read this: while I loved nearly all the characters in the novel, my favorite character was, hands down, the apple tree. I have never met a tree with so much personality or so mischievous. Allen’s beautiful writing alone would have made this novel good, but the addition of quirky characters like the apple tree were like icing on the cake. I’m definitely going to read more Sarah Addison Allen in the future.
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