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Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (final thoughts)

February 2, 2011

From the author’s website:
Claire has everything she thinks she needs, until one day she wakes to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden… and her carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.

Garden Spells was a completely delightful read. Told through multiple points of view, it’s about a small town in North Carolina where last names hold extra importance. Specifically, it focuses on Claire Waverley, Caterer and maintainer of the old Waverley house and its mysterious garden. Like the summary above says, she was quite content with the (hermit-ish) life she had, but of course it wouldn’t be a very interesting book if things stayed that way, now would it?

I really liked what Sarah Addison Allen did with the importance of last names and how people from each family possessed a certain characteristic. I wanted to know more about the special gifts Claire’s ancestors had. If Allen ever decides to write a Waverleys: A History, I would definitely read it. I also liked the magic of the garden and the house. The passing comments of their characteristics completely made the book for me. And of course there was a bit of romance to be had. Although Tyler’s sudden overwhelming interest in Claire was a bit unrealistic, I did like that Claire didn’t make things easy for him. All in all their growing relationship was quite lovely … and a bit steamy.

I very much recommend Garden Spells and I especially think it would make a great vacation read.

My rating: 8.5/10
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11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2011 8:34 am

    I just really enjoyed this one. Such a great way to start off the new year. Glad you enjoyed it as well.

  2. February 2, 2011 8:35 am

    Sarah Addison Allen is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! I read Garden Spells years ago at the suggestion of a friend and fell in love with it. Such a great story! But I think I loved The Sugar Queen even more!

  3. Mumsy permalink
    February 2, 2011 9:21 am

    I was a little underwhelmed by this – I thought the magical part of this was weakly developed, and the relationship between Claire and her beau also somewhat slight and thin. But I enjoyed it enough that I would probably try another of her books.

  4. February 2, 2011 9:46 am

    Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed Garden Spells too. have you read her latest – The Girl Who Chased the Moon?

  5. February 2, 2011 9:55 am

    I enjoyed this one too. I plan to pick up a few more of her books this year.

  6. February 2, 2011 9:57 am

    I have read both Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen and equally loved them. Each of them took only one day to read them because I couldn’t put them down – the beauty of the language, the magical realism, was exactly what I needed. I look forward to reading her latest one as well, and I can’t believe I’ve procrastinated on picking it up…

  7. February 2, 2011 11:15 am

    Great review.

    I really liked Claire. Something about her helped me relate.

    I’m still working on my review of this one :)

  8. February 2, 2011 1:30 pm

    I really really liked this one too!! In fact, I’ve loved all of her books and am looking forward to her new release!

  9. February 3, 2011 1:26 pm

    i’ve heard so many great things about sarah addison allen. i;m going to look for this one and the sugar queen the next time i go to the book store. thanks for the great review!

  10. February 5, 2011 12:09 pm

    Heather – I started 2011 with a slew of fantastic books, and this fit in there perfectly. And I think it was your review that inspired me to pick it up when I did. So, thanks!

    Meg – You liked the Sugar Queen even more? Then I definitely need to read that one too!

    Mumsy – Yeah, the relationship wasn’t my favourite part of the book. The whole I-see-you-I-love-you thing rarely works for me, but I felt the magical elements here mostly made up for that. Although I really would have loved to learn more about the magical properties of the house, garden, and Claire’s ancestors, not to mention the other families in the town.

    RFW – I haven’t read that one yet, but I really want to. Garden Spells was my first by her.

    Amy – I need to pick up more of her stuff, too!

    Coffee and a Book Chick – I wish I’d had the time to just read and read and read Garden Spells. I agree, it was hard to put down.

    Juju – I’m looking forward to seeing your review of it!

    Staci – Oooh there’s a new one coming out? I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for it.

    toothy – I hope you’re able to pick one of them up. I definitely want to read more of her stuff.

  11. February 6, 2011 9:51 pm

    This is on my shelf… just have not made time to read it yet.

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