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The Peach Keeper: A Novel [Hardcover]

Sarah Addison Allen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 22 2011
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

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Praise for  The Peach Keeper

Allen juggles smalltown history and mystical thriller, character development and eerie magical realism in a fine Southern gothic drama. The underlying tension will please and unnerve readers, as well as leave them eager for Allen's next.
-Publisher's Weekly

Praise for Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon

“Captivating . . . Sarah Addison Allen produces tantalizing fiction.”—The Roanoke Times
“A dusting of magic, the aroma of sugary cakes swirling through the breeze, and a girl who unwittingly brings change to a town of misfits make for a sweet summer story filled with hope and forgiveness.”—Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Charming and entertaining . . . Don’t miss this spellbinding tale.”—Asheville Citizen Times
“Allen clearly knows that all the fun is in the journey. . . . Sit back, open this book and join her.”—Greensboro News & Record

“An enjoyable read [with] doses of magical realism and romance.”—Associated Press

“Easy to devour in one sitting.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author

Sarah Addison Allen is the author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Garden Spells, and The Sugar Queen. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The peach man Aug. 25 2011
Sarah Addison Allen's version of the South is a lovely place -- bright sunshine, fruit, flowers and the ghosts of the past (sometimes literally).

So you can guess what her fourth novel, "The Peach Keeper," is absolutely soaked with. It's a lush, summery little novel that spins together buried secrets, ghosts, magical realism, romance, and a decades-old mystery. But at heart, it's the story of two young women's struggle to find their place in the world.

The Blue Ridge Madam -- a mansion in the North Carolina town of Walls of Water -- once belonged to Willa Jackson's family, but they lost it when her grandmother was still a young girl. All her life, she has been haunted by this. Now the derelict mansion is being transformed into a high-class country inn by Willa's old classmate, Paxton. Paxton is slowly crumbling under the weight of tradition and family expectations -- as well as her love for her possibly-gay friend Sebastien.

Then Willa and Paxton's brother Colin find a skull buried near the house -- and it turns out to be Tucker Devlin, a devilishly charming salesman who had magical powers and claimed to have peach juice in his veins. Willa begins to unwind the past to find out what happened to Tucker, and discovers some shocking connections to her family past...

When you summarize it, "The Peach Keeper" sounds like a magical-realism murder mystery, or maybe a lightweight ghost story. However, it's not really either -- there ARE ghosts, and there IS a mystery of sorts. But Allen is much more interested in the closeted skeletons of Walls of Water, and in the troubled young woman who need to find their own place in the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and uplifting story Sept. 25 2012
This book offers valuable insight into the dynamics of female friendship and how they impact the people around them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and could not put it down. I am eager to read other books from this author. I deeply enjoyed the way the author wove the culture of Southern society and the history of women and their club into the book. It felt authentic and kept my attention. I don't want to give away the story too much, but I will say that the book was heartwarming, uplifting and had an amazing ending that filled me up. We need stories like this to remind us that friendship is a beautiful and treasured thing, and sometimes you can find it in the strangest of places. People can surprise you, and help you open up your heart, and this beautiful story reminds us of this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it, love it, love it! Sept. 2 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this author. I was hooked after Garden Spells, and have waited anxiously for each of her new books to come out since. The superstitions and magic are great, and take me to another place. I hope that she has already started on her next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy! Sept. 29 2011
I could not put this book down. I've stayed up late into the night so I could finish it. I enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Sept. 6 2011
Like all of Sarah Allen's books this was in a sense fun! Easy to read, with a captivating story, the book tugs at your heart strings. Whimsy, magical, and with just enough of a storyline, you can almost believe in magic again. You feel for the characters and you are disappointed when the stories are done. These books are great to reread when you need a little lift to your day. The Peach Keeper: A NovelThe Girl Who Chased the Moon: A NovelGarden Spells
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