Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night - until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis and two parts fairy godmother.
Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey's clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she's going to change Josey's life - because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.
Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and - most amazing of all - has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush.
As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time - even for her. It seems that Della Lee's work is done, and it's time for her to move on. But the truth about where she's going, why she showed up in the first place - and what Chloe has to do with it all - is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey's fast-changing life.
©2008 Sarah Addison Allen; (P)2008 Books on Tape
I bought this author's first book on a whim and as soon as I was finished listening to it immediately downloaded the Sugar Queen. It was just as wonderful as the first. I can't wait for her next book. The characters are quirky and the story really draws you in. She is now a must buy author for me
Books appearing out of no where and a woman living in someone closet sound far fetched but I really liked this book. The story was well developed, as were the characters.
I'm sure many of us "not so thin" gals could relate to Josey's insecurity about her body image as well as interaction with men. Add in the mother she had;(although it was interesting to find out her issues as well) and it's no wonder Josey took her comfort in food.
While listening to the story I thought Josey's new found relationships with Della Lee and Chloe would make a great TV Christmas movie. (And I love all those movies)!
Adam's character was sweet and the perfect "prince charming" to come to her rescue.
I love books!
I found "Sugar Queen" to be easy listening if that makes any sense. a sweet story about a shy woman who has been living in her mothers shadow and feels it is her responsibility to care for her mother . Of coarse she is addicted to sweets that she hides in her closet. All of this changes when she finds the towns bad girl living in her closet. I like Sarah Addison Allens books they are easy to read or listen to. They all seem to have a little magic in them and her writing reminds me a little bit of early Alice Hoffmen books
I have read or listened to the 3 books by this author and think they are delightful. I loved them so much I bought them in paperback for a friend who doesn't have audible book access and I know she will love them, too. Spellbinding, etherial, enchanting.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 5 Story: 4
What I wanted was a sweet and unique story that would allow me to escape for the length of time the narration took. Sarah Addison Allen managed to present a story that was full of southern charm and sweetness, with a unique edge of unexpected fairy godmothers to enhance a life that was stale and uninspiring. Josey is stuck in a life that doesn’t quite fit: a little too ‘ethnic’ looking when compared to her mother, a famed belle, a little too large, too loud, perhaps even too outspoken for her own good. She stuffs her feelings of inadequacy from her hidden sanctuary: an unused closet full to the brim with unsuitable paperback romances, pop, candy and other sweets. Josey is stuck in neutral, and too worried about what others may think to dare changing or acting on her own thoughts. And Josey wants to leave the ‘nowhere’ small town in the North Carolina mountains – away from the responsibility of caring for her unloving mother, prying eyes and expectations that she is certain she will never meet.
When Josey finds the notorious ‘bad girl” Della Lee hiding in her closet, Josey is determined to get Della Lee to leave. One problem: Della is comfortable where she is at the moment, and she knows that Josey doesn’t want her secret stash revealed. Polar opposites, Josey and Della Lee begin a series of bargains as Della pushes Josey out of her self-imposed rut. Della Lee is a wonderful counterpoint, to Josey: forthright and impulsive, she does what every ‘good girl’ doesn’t dare attempt and has had a wonderful time, mostly, of doing it.
A series of bargains lead Josey through a wonderful path of self-discovery as she learns to take responsibility for her own choices, and stand up to her mother, perhaps earning her the first modicum of grudging respect from that quarter. Della Lee isn’t above snooping (she did hide out in her closet) so when she finds that Josey harbors a closely held crush on the mailman, she prods, pushes and challenges her to make a move in that direction.
Josey’s transformation is cleverly plotted and easy to relate to, even though readers may not feel a kinship with her exact issues, they will find a connection to her struggle: the fear, the worry, the struggle between selfish wants and obligations that conflict. Using several sweet references that instantly draw taste and scent memories from readers adds to the feel and sense of the story.
Narration in this version is from Karen White, who is fast becoming a ‘must listen’ narrator for me. Her subtle changes for character voice and accents serve to enhance their history and backstories, from subtle hint of the south to the full on twang, the voices and delivery introduce characters with distinct elements that do not waver from introduction to end. There were a few moments where the recording had some problems: whether recorded later and cut in, or the external sound dampening was briefly deactivated, a few sections carried an echo that was brief, but noticeable, and other volume changes were present occasionally as well. Not enough to completely disrupt the listen, but of a frequency to be noted.
I wasn’t looking for nor expecting a story grounded in realism and clearly tied to the here and now, and the elements of magic and potential of some unknown hand subtly pushing events in one direction or another to serve a wish or a whim were perfectly played and add a sense of the possible to the story. Sweet and light, with plenty of humor and flavor to please many, I enjoyed this story and will keep it on my “when you want to escape” listen pile.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I like realistic books that stretch the truth and the laws of physics...and also emotionally resonant narration that doesn't suck.
I'm not sure what I expected, but this story did bore me just a bit. It was mostly one of those "a woman finds meaning in life" affairs, only with just a little dab of the paranormal. Really, it seems as though this author cannot stop trying to rewrite "Practical Magic" with every new book she releases, which is annoying. I found this book to be somewhat formulaic for that reason. I think the writing was well executed and the characters well drawn, which is why I listened to the end, but the plot, though interesting and deeply involved, just wasn't quite my cup of tea.
The was the last of Sarah Addison Allen's books that I have listened to and I highly recommend each one. They hold my attention fully. There is just a touch of fantasy that adds so much to the stories. If you love a good, easy novel - you'll love these.
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