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Garden Spells | [Sarah Addison Allen]

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.

Together again in the house they grew up in, the Waverley sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy - if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom - or with each other.

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2007 Sarah Addison Allen; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (985 )
5 star
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4.2 (533 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 04-05-12
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 04-05-12 Member Since 2011

    I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Drama and mystery with a touch of enchantement"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daisy VINALHAVEN, MAINE, United States 04-02-12
    Daisy VINALHAVEN, MAINE, United States 04-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Not my favorite narrator"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I bought this book on sale which made it worth it, It wouldn't have been worth it if
    i'd used a credit to get it since there are much better books out there to listen to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Garden Spells?

    The narrator's voice really bothered me.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    For me it did because she narrates a lot of mediocre murder mystery novels and that's all I could think of while listening.


    Did Garden Spells inspire you to do anything?

    No


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 08-08-11
    Andrea YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 08-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Got spelled in the garden.."

    Fluffy, dopey, predicatable and thoroughly enjoyable. Good choice if you just read/listened to something heavy!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Clayton, NC, United States 01-02-11
    Robert Clayton, NC, United States 01-02-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Lifetime channel movie treatment"

    A cliched romance narrated painfully by an unsuitable reader. Couldn't wait for it to end. Not for those expecting literary fiction.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pashopper 11-29-10
    pashopper 11-29-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easy listening"

    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...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Glendale Heights, IL, United States 02-25-10
    Sheila Glendale Heights, IL, United States 02-25-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Tending magic"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Newton, NJ, United States 02-09-09
    Vicki Newton, NJ, United States 02-09-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Should have read reviews more carefully"

    I did not realize this was a romance novel--which I do not like. Tried to finish--the author has created some very imaginative sequences--but the silly "will she or won't she" (it's obvious that she will) overwhelmed the intriguing parts and finally turned me off...so I turned it off and deleted it from my iTunes library.

    15 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    09-14-08
    09-14-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Great entertainment"

    My mom turned me onto this. Definately a chick book and being a woman loved it. I listened to it all night.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Bend, OR, USA 02-04-10
    Teresa Bend, OR, USA 02-04-10
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    "Loved it and would recommend it"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 07-27-14
    Susan Bartonville, TX 07-27-14 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

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    "Watch out for that tree."

    What a fun read, not great literature but a smart, enjoyable story of relationship awakenings. This had been on my TBR list for a long time because I'm not really into chick-lit, but, I think this was more than that. Just an overall good story of two estranged sisters trying to move forward in their lives after experiencing a pretty rough childhood. It was not sappy at all but there was a pretty feisty apple tree involved and some very quirky characters.

    As always Susan Ericksen did excellent job narrating, her voices were distinguishable and fit the characters personalities. I recommend this for those looking for a light, feel good read surrounded by small town Southern hospitality and a bit of enchantment thrown in for good measure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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