Tuesday, May 03, 2011

BOOK REVIEW - THE PEACH KEEPER, BY SARAH ADDISON ALLEN

On Sarah Addison Allen's website, you'll learn that her books are for the senses. They are indeed, and she is one of my favorite authors. Her latest releast, THE PEACH KEEPER, is about friendship. Not the casual sort, but the kind we all crave. Enduring, supportive, everlasting friendship. Each of Sarah Addison Allen's books include a sprinkling of magic. To me, the books are not exactly paranormal, but stories of credible situations enhanced slightly by fairy dust. They're women's fiction. They're romances. They're terrific!

Paxton Osgood is one of the social mainstays of Walls of Water, North Carolina at the entrance to Cascade National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her family has been in residence for generations, setting the pace in social structure. Paxton is now is President of the Women's Society Club her grandmother helped found 75 years earlier. As a celebration, her family has restored The Blue Ridge Madam, the abandoned home of the town's founder. Only two of the founding club members are still living, and Paxton wants to honor both of the ladies, one of whom is her crotchedy, blind grandmother Agatha Osgood.

Willa Jackson is descended from the town's founder and the family who built The Blue Ridge Madam before the creation of the Cascades National Park ended the logging business and her family lost everything. Not everything, of course. Her father was his science students' favorite high school teacher. Willa never expected to return to Walls of Water. Just as she reached bottom and faced eviction from her apartment, she learned of her father's death and that she inherited his home and meager assets. She owns Au Nauterelle Sporting Goods and Cafe located on the town's tourist street.  Her grandmother is Georgie Jackson, the other remaining founding member of the women's Society Club. Sadly, Georgie is locked away in Alzheimer's at the same nursing home as Agatha Osgood.. 

You can see that the only thing Paxton and Willa have in common is that their grandmothers are the last living members of the women's club. Paxton has always been everyone's darling, the leader in every group. Willa was the school Jokster and left town an outcast.

Paxton's best friend is Sebastian Rogers, another social outcast who put aside the purple trench coat and eyeliner he wore in high school for Armani suits and a dental degree. He bought the practice from reigning doctor ouch, including the elderly dentist's medieval- style home. Paxton is in love with Sebastian, but she isn't sure about his gender preference. He has never answered those who questioned his sexual orientation and he is far too beautiful to be human, and Paxton fears voicing her love for him. 

Willa has never wanted romance. She is a loser magnate and knows it. When Colin Osgood, Paxton's fraternal twin brother, shows interest in Willa, she is certain his interest is temporary and superficial. But she can't help herself, she is under his spell. 

I don't give away spoilers, so you'll have to read the book to see how the friendship theme develops. As a clue, here are passages that tell you the lessons the two main characters learned.

Willa: "She walked out into the sunshine, smiling. Fate never promises to tell you everything up front. You aren't always shown the path in life your're supposed to take. But if there was one thing she'd learned in the past few weeks, it was that sometimes, when you're really lucky, you meet someone with a map."

Paxton: "Most people avoided Paxton as they left. She was sure everyone wanted to talk to one another about it first, to come to some consensus about how they all felt about it. One way or the other, Paxton knew that those who decided to stick with her would be her true friends. The others would just be scenery."

This is the fourth book by Sarah Addison Allen. Here are her others:

GARDEN SPELLS was her first book and hooked me immediately. I have my Darling Daughter One to thank for giving me the book. I've read it twice and may read it again and again. I never see an apple without remembering this book.





SUGAR QUEEN is the second book. Just as magical, also from Darling Daughter One. (The woman keeps me in good books.) Pay attention to the word pictures the author paints. She is truly gifted. And who can resist any book about a woman who creates foods with magical properties?




THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON, the third release, has wonderful images. I have quoted this book in classes I teach. I just reread this book and loved it as much the second time as I did the first.







Sarah Addison Allen
Pick a favorite book by Sarah Addison Allen? GARDEN SPELLS would be the one. Except THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON was a great story, too. Oooh, SUGAR QUEEN was a sweet story. No, THE PEACH KEEPER was dynamic. Sigh. Impossible to choose. You should just do yourself a favor and read them all! 

If you want to learn more about the Sarah Addison Allen, check her website at http://www.sarahaddisonallen.com/

P.S. I know I'm off schedule for my blog posts due to battling bronchitis. Thanks for sticking with me!

1 comment:

melissasmeanderings said...

I am so in love with this author as well...I just finished her third book and was so happy!! I suspect that Garden Spells will always be my favorite though! Can't wait to read this one!! Thanks for the review and feel better!!