If there’s one book that has surprised me recently, this could be it. I have heard many good things about Sarah Addison Allen from friends whose taste in books I fully trust, but it was only recently that I got persuaded to at least try one of her novels. I included Garden Spells as one of my required reads for October, but with slight hesitation, knowing that magical realism is the genre that I don’t usually fall for. My friends’ reviews are enough to convince me, however, plus that it has been said that this book will make me hungry haha.
In Garden Spells, 34 year-old Claire Waverly seems to be contented with her life at the Waverley ancestral house, living alone and tending the family’s garden known to grow edible herbs and flowers known to affect people who eat them in different ways. At the middle of the garden stands an apple tree which does not only throws apples to people, but also possesses magical properties. Claire’s life starts to turn around when her rebellious sister, Sydney, returns after a 10-year absence, bringing with her her 5 year-old daughter, Bay. And then there’s Tyler, the neighbor next door, who is so smitten by Claire, to her chagrin.
Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The element of magic, which was the source of my initial hesitation, actually made me fall in love with the book. I loved how magic was beautifully weaved into the story, not too spooky nor sinister, and how it played a central role in the lives of the characters. I enjoyed the “antics” of the mystical apple tree well enough, it made me crave for apples in the middle of the night. 😀
The characters were also one of the things I loved about the book. I loved the Waverlys, including the eccentric Evanelle. I loved how Claire and Sydney showed how it is to be a family despite the differences and the odds. And then there’s swoon-worthy Tyler. Love defies any magic, huh? Or maybe because love is already magic in itself? 🙂
Garden Spells is all about belongingness and family and the choices we make for love. It is heart-warming and simply lovely. I’m glad I read this book; it made my birthday month more wonderful. Yes to Sarah Addison Allen’s brand of magical realism. 🙂
My copy: ebook