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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best I ever read
Garden Spells is very well written. I love this book from first page till the end, I think about this book long after I finish. And I ordered " sugar queen" right the way, the newest book.
this story is very positive, how good life can be if we willing to enjoy and go beyond.
How changes unfold to something positive. And there's magic in this story too...
Published on Aug. 19 2008 by Bella

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Garden Spells
"Garden Spells" by Sarah Addison Allen is a romantic, practical fantastical book.

The Waverley family has long been the odd ball family in town, their apple tree that grows in their yard is a legend and if you eat one of the apples from the tree you will see a pivotal future event in your life. Some see when and how they die others see their future love. The...
Published on July 30 2008 by Pauline


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Garden Spells, July 30 2008
This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
"Garden Spells" by Sarah Addison Allen is a romantic, practical fantastical book.

The Waverley family has long been the odd ball family in town, their apple tree that grows in their yard is a legend and if you eat one of the apples from the tree you will see a pivotal future event in your life. Some see when and how they die others see their future love. The tree tries to be part of the family by throwing apples at the family members and moving things with its branches, but no one seems to appreciate the tree except for one or two members of the Waverley family throughout the tree's history.

Claire Waverley is the sister that stayed in Bascom, North Carolina since her mother abandoned her there with her baby sister when Claire was six years old. Claire is now thirty-four years old and runs a successful catering business. Her sister Sydney reappears after a long absence with her daughter in tow. Sydney has escaped an abusive relationship and is trying to find refuge for herself, but mostly for her daughter. Her sister takes her in and they develop a stronger bond then they had when they were youngsters.

Claire is able to weave magic with her food and influence people's moods by serving them certain culinary delights. A life of order and predictability is what Claire lives and loves. A handsome professor buys the house next to Claire's and falls hopelessly in love with Claire, but Claire is resistant to his advances and the love story that unfolds is charming and maybe a slight cheesy.

There are a lot of side characters, my favorite being the seventy-nine year old Evanelle who has a compulsion to give people the weirdest items. The items she gives people always play a pivotal role in their lives if they choose to keep the item.

"Garden Spells" is a light book full of romance and good guys and bad guys your mother would want you to date or not to date. I found the first half of the book enchanting, the third quarter got a bit cheesy and tiring, but the last quarter finished off nicely. A definite chic book and it may appeal to foodies due to Claire's culinary life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best I ever read, Aug. 19 2008
This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
Garden Spells is very well written. I love this book from first page till the end, I think about this book long after I finish. And I ordered " sugar queen" right the way, the newest book.
this story is very positive, how good life can be if we willing to enjoy and go beyond.
How changes unfold to something positive. And there's magic in this story too.
It's easy read, strong characters and great story line. Give it a try, really good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spell-binding read, Jan. 3 2009
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This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
I picked this book up because I enjoyed "Practical Magic." This book captivated me from beginning to end. The magic is subtle and the characters are beautifully written. This is a charming little book that will put you under its spell!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garden Spells, Sept. 5 2010
This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
I read a lot so I do not say this lightly that this is the best book I have ever read.I just finished it and it has left me wanting more.. You will not be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book!, Jan. 19 2013
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This review is from: Garden Spells (Kindle Edition)
Love this book and have found a favourite new author. A very pleasant read and will definetly order more of her books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT, Jan. 17 2012
This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
I needed something nice, lite, and magical. This did it, it was such a great mix of magic and botany and lovelyness. I was sad when it ended. If you want to enjoy a nice story with hints of magic, this is it. LOVED IT.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read, Oct. 21 2014
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This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
Wonderful fun book and accurate in regards to edible plants. I enjoyed this story and recommend to anyone looking for an easy and different read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...but first, a personal confession., May 15 2009
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Schmadrian - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Garden Spells (Hardcover)
I am biased in reviewing this novel, as well as Ms Allen's second, 'The Sugar Queen'. I do not fit the demographic for such fare (namely that of whimsical, magical chick-lit set in the South), as I am a middle-aged guy. However, these two books resonated for me in ways that ended up improving their ratings, simply because I have been greatly affected by the presence of romantic Love in the world, and the effects it can manifest in our lives. Specifically for me, the worst effects: my world was turned upside down by unrequited Love, by not being able to create the future that I saw so clearly for this woman and myself. So I am a member of the choir that this tale preaches to, maybe all the more susceptible because of the heartache I endured...and indeed, still endure more than half a decade later.

That out of the way, let me say that once again, as noted in the title for my review for Ms Allen's second novel, I always want more. It is a personal inclination to see possibility in things, in people, in situations. Not only that, but also the mapping-out of how everything might be brought to a higher state of potential. And with this début from Ms Allen, it's so much clearer to me what her strengths...and her weaknesses...are.

She has a wonderful knack with the fantastical. Presenting it in such a way as to not have it be some circus event, but rather something to be accepted. To be wondered at, but not in a mawkish way. Here is a very, very creative person, who has managed to go back to this well twice (three times, if the blurbs about her next effort are accurate), and provides the willing reader with a lot to smile about. Being able to 'charm' with something, whether it be a song, a painting, a magic act, a film, or a novel, is a blessed gift. And to the extent to which Ms Allen has mined her talent, 'charm' is precisely what she does. (Again, *if* you're open to the notion, to the genre, to the mindset. If you're not- Well, why are you reading this review?!?) And clearly, her wry sense of humour is something to be pushed center-stage as often as it makes sense. And her good heart is always moving things forward.

But...

But at this point in her career, the author has noticeable weaknesses of craft. Proving to me that though she's published a pair of efforts so far, she's still very much a 'writer-in-waiting'.

First and foremost, her dialogue. Some of it shines. Some of it is perfectly snappy. But there are just too many occasions when it is downright...well, execrable. Really, really, *really* bad. Yes, I know that the genre allows for a lot. But seriously; I found the bad stuff to be painful to read.

Tied into this...and the third aspect, to follow...is her deftness of touch regarding characterization. Or lack thereof. There is in this novel, as well as her second, a tendency towards being facile. Yea, I know; the genre tolerates this...again, it ain't literature...and yet I can't help but feel that she needs to dig deep and develop her chops. There was a lot more that she could have done with the characters. Either she wasn't capable of going deeper, or didn't try. The novel 'and the reader' are the losers here.

Finally, there's the question of scope. There's an art to making something refined. Stripped-down. Elegantly charming in its brevity. Just as there's an art to creating the epic. The rich, the dense, the sumptuously-fabric'd. Great failures are possible when attempting either end of the gamut. Just as riding the middle can also result in mediocrity. 'Garden Spells' could have been either achingly spare at its <300 pages, or it could have been riveting at >450. As it stands, it is neither. There are many elements left unexplored. Some things were left dangling. Passages cried out for a fuller treatment...just as many demanded to have even less print used to express them. In the end, 'Garden Spells' is neither exquisitely reserved nor a richly woven. Again, our loss.

Having said all this, and keeping in mind my confession, I enjoyed 'Garden Spells'. It wasn't all that it could have been, but it contained sufficient trigger points (one of the lead characters, Claire, is so very much the literary embodiment of Heidi, 'the one that got away' for me) so as to create a constant tone for me, allowing me to be *moved* time and time again. Not enough to award it 5 stars...but then, I am a harsh critic.

My wish for Ms Allen is twofold: one, that she get the editorial input she deserves, and two, that she's able to plumb more of her talent before she has to leave this particular well and move on to other sources.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, March 17 2011
This review is from: Garden Spells (Paperback)
This book was recommended by a friend. It did not disappoint! It was like laying on a light fluffy cloud, with birds chirping and a nice breeze with a warm sun. Just light and fresh. I loved the whimsy of it all. The quirkyness of the different families, their trials and tribulations. Certainly not a deep plot but the characters were so well done that it didn't matter. Each character was so well written, it was hard not to love them all in their own ways. The only thing I did not like about this book was that it was too short. I could have read hundreds of more pages and was disappointed to find out that Sugar Queen was a whole new tale, not a continuation with the same characters. Maybe one day the author will continue their stories? Can always hope I guess. A very touching, satisfying read.
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Garden Spells
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (Paperback - April 29 2008)
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