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)
This was an enjoyable read with many insightful moments. Feels a bit like the characters' lives were a lesson in hyperbole, but the author succeeded in making them seem more realistic than fairy tale. I will definitely read the sequel.
Well written and thoroughly engaging. The narrator was perfect for the story. I have found my new favourite author. Bravo!
I love these women and their quirky lives. I want to read more more more!
I honestly would buy books just to hear Susan narrate them. I love her <3
Yes yes yes - Took me 2 days. I had to sleep and work!
I enjoyed every minute of this audiobook. I am not generally a fan of the genre, but I turn to it after listening to a particularly heavy books. This book was just the ticket...light and engaging.... With just a pinch of Southern magic.
I have to give this book 2.75 stars, but I don't want any Audible recommendations coming up based on a 3 star review so I'm rounding down to 2. I was really surprised that this book received so many high ratings. It started out average and declined from there. It was SO predictable, and that's saying something coming from me. If the characters and the story are engaging, I don't usually mind if a book follows a typical "formula" because the book is still enjoyable. Of course it's much better if the book is original and unique. But Garden Spells was like watching a bad made-for-TV light romance movie (and I like a good romance as much as the next girl). I knew exactly how the entire story would go, and how it would end, after the first few chapters. I love stories with any kind of magic or fantasy, but not even the magical elements could save this book. They seemed forced and did not blend seamlessly into the story, so it was impossible to suspend disbelief and feel drawn in. The worst part, though, was how incredibly cheesy and trite the story was. There's no other word for it. I actually rolled my eyes at some of the lines, and no book has ever provoked that reaction in me before. As for the narration, while the narrator has a good voice in a general sense, she was not right for this book -- or rather, she made a cheesy book even cheesier. She sounded like she was reading a child's fairy tale the entire time. Granted, she was stuck with the dialogue, which often explained in detail what was already patently obvious, but the pedantic tone made it even worse. Also, this book takes place in small town North Carolina, and this narrator did not have a Southern accent. She put one on for some of the characters, but it wasn't very believable and was made worse by the fact that most of the characters had no accent even though they had lived in this town their whole lives. In case it isn't obvious from this rant, I would not recommend this book. There are so many other options for books with magic, family, a little romance, etc.; it's a wonder this was even published. It is not worth the time.
My hands are always busy--I'm always working on something, all day long. Audiobooks keep my mind happily occupied, thankyou Audible.
I am not familiar with this author, but I'm a big fan of narrator Susan Ericksen, whose ability to represent the characters is truly phenomenal. Her tonal inflections, accents (she can do black, southern, yankee, native american, men, women, children) and versatility actually enhance each story she does. This one is no exception.
The story itself is a combination of reality and magical whimsy. I love the apple tree. Excellent plot, kept me smiling and cheering right up to the end.
A narrator more suited to the region in which the novel is set.
The narrator's sad attempt at a Southern accent.
A different narrator. Sissy Spacek, who did a phenomenal job with To Kill A Mockingbird, would be my choice.
I loved Garden Spells when I read it, so when I saw the discounted Audible version just before the release of First Frost I was very excited. I wish I had taken time to read the reviews, as I must agree this narrator it's completely unsuited to the material. The sad attempts at an accent only make the characters sound like stereotypically stupid Southerners, and that's when she tries for the accent at all. If I'd used a credit or paid full price for this I'd be livid right now. My advice: if you're a fan of Sarah Addison Allen, skip this and pick up the book.
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