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.
©2007 Sarah Addison Allen; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio
"The blending of horticultural folklore, the supernatural and a big dollop of Southern flavor should find favor with a wide swath of readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"Spellbindingly charming, Allen's impressively accomplished debut novel will bewitch fans of Alice Hoffman and Laura Esquivel." (Booklist)
Interested in books that help one's spirit move beyond the ordinary.
I purchased this book because the sequel, First Frost, is this month's selection for my local library book group. I don't like coming into a series in the middle and I was drawn to the magical theme of the garden and the Waverly sisters so I decided to start with Garden Spells. While magic is woven through the story, it is not really the primary plot. Rather it is mostly about the return of Sidney to her home town of Bascom, NC and the resultant impact on her sister Claire and the other townsfolk.
While I very much enjoyed the book, if you are drawn to it primarily because of the magical bent, you should be aware that it is only one component. Also, while not giving away the story, I think readers should be aware that Sidney's story contains some difficult elements. Thus, the title of this review
I only gave the narrator three stars because her ability to do a range of voices was just not there. She was very good at the female characters, particularly the southern drawl of Evenel. However, the male characters suffered.
Home is where my books are.
While I enjoyed my visit to the Waverley House in Bascome, I usually read more emotionally intense books. In a way, this was a lovely change of pace. The sisters growing affection was believable, the love interest characters charming, and the happy ending was neatly done.
I also thought Susan Erickson's narration was perfect for the pace of this story.
Although I enjoyed the book for what it is, it isn't very deep and it's unlikely I would read it again. Pass it on to someone else? Definitely.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I very much enjoyed listening to “Garden Spells”, especially since I had just finished a Tom Clancy “Jack Ryan” rip-roaring shoot ‘em up-er. While I don’t think either book is great literary writing, each is enjoyable in its own way. This is chick lit at it’s best, with some drama, some romance, some mystery with an enchanting touch of enchantment thrown in
Sarah Allen’s novel is nicely developed and Susan Ericksen does a lovely job of narrating it, with just enough drama at the right points, just enough quiet at the thoughtful places.
I enjoyed getting to know Sydney and her daughter, older sister Claire, and I especially enjoyed the older aunt, Evenelle-who is a character I wish had been given more time. I think the book might have gained positively from a bit more length, giving more time to deeper character development of each of the protagonists.
This is a good beach weekend listen-it’s sort of Jodi Picoult meets Nora Roberts. Sarah Allen goes on my list of authors to look for when I want to read romantic mystery.
I love clean books of all sorts. Love mysteries, fantasies epic to kids stories, fairy tales, romances, humor, and historical fiction
I love the hint of magic in this book. I know people like this. I love herbs and gardening. That said, I do NOT like f-bomb language, descriptions of rape and abuse and lewd sexual encounters. I am much more of the type who thinks the bedroom doors ought to remain closed in a story. This now has the distinction of being the worst book I've purchased at Audible. If you like a tale of local town characters with some mystery thrown in, try a Cat Who.... book by Lilian Jackson Braun or a Joanne Fluke Cookie Murder. They won't have you hating the language or cringing at bedroom scenes. If you like mysteries or adventure Elizabeth Peters is quite wonderful, I enjoy Amelia Peabody books and her Vicky Bliss series. I'm going to delete Garden Spells from my Audible library quick before my mother reads it. I don't tolerate bad language from my children or my literature.
A cliched romance narrated painfully by an unsuitable reader. Couldn't wait for it to end. Not for those expecting literary fiction.
Written very much in the style of an Alice Hoffman book, this one has several very enjoyable characters and an interesting story. There is magic and (while it is definitely NOT for the Fantasy Genre) it does lighten up this literary equivalent of a 'chick flick'. The female characters are believable and you come to care about them very quickly. The male characters are a bit 2 dimensional though and serve more as a narrative device than a place in the cast.
That said, it kept my attention throughout and I did enjoy it. I think it also worth mentioning that nearly all the great books in any genre have some romance in them...
The magic of a garden, family legacies and talents, culinary art, and life in the here and now are beautifully crafted together in this story. What a relief to find characters who don't cling to abuse and excuse it as love or whose relationships don't resolve in an instant, but rather require careful tending and time! I found myself feeling unexpected sympathy towards characters who normally would remain flatly wicked. Sure, the story is set in present day North Carolina, but it could easily be a fairy tale told once upon a time and long, long ago. If you don't like romances, then avoid this one-- it's too lovely for your sensibilities.
My mom turned me onto this. Definately a chick book and being a woman loved it. I listened to it all night.
Loved the magical way this was written and how the story was woven in and out of recipes and flowers. The characters were wonderful and loved how they fell in love.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.