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)
I am sorry to say it, but I so disliked this audiobook that I did not even finish it. I tried to get through it, but at the halfway point, I just decided I did not have 4 more hours left in me to dedicate to it.
I love anything and everything to do with edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful plants, so I was super excited about this one when it was recommended to me by a friend. But I am really not so much into "magic", so the story itself lost me on that level.
However, I WOULD have finished it, had it not been for narrator Susan Ericksen. Oh my gosh, her voice got under my skin so badly. In the span of about 3 words, she would go from SHOUTING to completely inaudible. It was uncomfortable via headphones, thanks to the shouting going directly into my ears, and annoying in the car, thanks to the fact that I just had to guess what she probably said at the end of that sentence, or the middle of the next one. In general, her voice was, hmmmm, how to describe it?....Squawkish? Her voice for Bay was ridiculous, and like listening to baby-talk. And she made Claire seem to have no real personality of her own with an extremely boring voice. Think of it as listening to 8 hours of excruciatingly bad acting. I could not take it. I would not recommend to anyone.
I'm a magical realism junkie and I needed a happy ending, and wasn't disappointed. I loved the herbal magic, the vivacious apple tree, and Aunt Evanelle. I also really liked how everything was wrapped up, even the author's sympathy for the old rival. This was, while reminiscent (to put it mildly) of an old favorite, a totally unique book. If you like Hoffman and Allende, you'll be happy. Listen to the audible version, you won't be disappointed.
Garden Spells was a wonderful story with a wonderful performance. A sense of magic combined with current day drama.
Claire Waverley was the most memorable character, she was smart, loving, and stubborn...great combination.
I love Susan Ericksen. She really brings the story to life.
She develops a different voice for each of the characters.
I had two favorite characters, Clare and Evenelle. I liked the mystery of Evenelle who always seemed to be interfering without really doing so. Clare I loved her strength and her ability to hold everything together. She had the courage to take what she wanted without becoming an overbearing character.
Very much so, it was so easy to imagine a face for all the characters. Even down to who was tall and who was small.
The Garden of Enchantment
I did not want to finish reading as I came to the end of the story. I was truly enchanted and felt like this could continue with the lives of these people so intertwined. All the characters had a dark side to them which love allowed them to overcome. Great read!
Characters were captivating. Enjoyed the whole book. Recommend this for a rainy day with nothing to do but listen.
It's among the top of the 'Mind Candy' group! It's a wonderful, quirkey, satisfying getaway from the mundane.
Her other book "The Sugar Queen". Both are whimsical, lovely stories of finding oneself through trying circumstances, overcoming the odds families bring to our lives and triumphing in the end.
Well, she didn't perform it exactly, but the tree... Really, the tree brings in the story! However, of the performed characters, I think Sydney because she ran away from what she was and had to come home to find herself.
Extreme... not really, but definite giggling, inner happiness and overall good feelings when finished. Along with a few sighs when Claire - well don't want to give anything away!
Well worth listening to, especially if you're stressed & just want to get away for awhile to give your mind a rest from reality or simply just want to fully relax with the story.
Also gives thoughtful insights into handling situations that might just come in handy - things that are magical, but only because they can be achieved with a little thought and kindness in everyday life.
Tell us about yourself!
Allen mixes magic and realism in a special, wonderful way.The characters are well developed and each have their own special magic.
This book is reminiscent of Practical Magic (very similar story, actually) but is more about the transformation and healing of the characters. This story has good dramatic tension without being dark and negative. For me, it was a real relief to listen to a story that didn't have to have an absolute evil running the show in order to have dramatic tension. I LOVED the style of magic in this story which brought to mind stories such as "Like Water for Chocolate". Thank you for a wonderful heart warming book!
Nothing like a good listen to help you escape!
I loved the way the author blended the garden goodies with culinary delights!
Bay was delightful!
Claire was so multi-dimensional and real!
A wonderful way to spend a day!
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