Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review - Garden Spells by Laura Addison Allen (5/5 stars)

Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Contemporary
Paperback:320 pages
Publisher: Bantam Discovery
Release Date: April 28th, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0553590326
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Listened to on audio (from
Rating: 5/5 stars

I listened to this book on audio.  I picked it out because it sounded interesting, magical, and had gotten wonderful reviews.  I am very glad I listened to it; it was a wonderful book unlike anything  I have read before.  

The Waverly family has magic.  There are two sisters; Claire can make people feel things with the flowers she uses in her cooking and Sydney can make your hair look better than it ever has.  Sydney's daughter, Bay, knows where things below and where they should be. Evelyn, an older cousin to the sisters, knows when people need will need something and gives people strange things that they do eventually need.  It is mostly passive magic and is subtly woven in throughout the story.  The bigger part of the story deals with these women and their lives, as well as their quest to find happiness.  Claire is set in her way and doesn't want to change for anything or anyone,  least of all for a man.  When Sydney arrives with Bay in tow, fleeing an abusive husband, Claire's routine is sent askew.  Claire's nice life is further disrupted when her neighbor claims he is in love with her and tries to win her heart.  Oh and let's not forget the magical apple tree that keeps secrets of its own.

This was a beautiful book, there is no other way to describe it.  It is written in such a way that you can smell the flowers and see their beauty; the description is wonderful.  The characters are beautiful too; they are flawed but always striving to obtain happiness and do the best that they can to make others happy.

I wasn't sure if I would like this book.  It seems more aimed at middle-aged women than anything else.  Even though the women involved are older, I grew to love them and the grace with which they struggled through life.  There is quite a bit about love in this book, not exactly romance, but love between family members, mother-daughter, and about finding new love.

The book has a light sense of humor throughout and really tugged at my emotions.  Sometimes I found myself laughing out loud, sometimes angry, and sometimes almost in tears.  It takes a great writer who can write engaging characters to evoke all those emotions in a reader and Allen suceeded at this.

You'll love the complex, intelligent women in this book.  You'll cherish the struggles they go through; you'll read about how wonderful life can be when you strive to make it so.  The actual magic in this book is subtle but definitely one of the driving influences in these women's lives.  There is even more magic in the every day struggles the characters go through both with their personal issues and their past histories.

Loved this book.  Different from what I normally read and aimed at an older female audience.  Still I think many people will enjoy this book; there is a lot of subtle magic here, beautiful description, and it ends happily.  Definitely a feel-good book.  I will most likely check out some other works by Laura Addison Allen when I get the chance.  This book reminded me a bit of some movies I've seen like Practical Magic or Chocolat.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery) 

1 comment:

  1. I think I read this some time ago, but can't for the life of me remember! lol
    Thanks for the review!