Well, I've finally managed to finish two of my three selections for Maggie's Southern Reading Challenge. I enjoyed both but the second one (see post above!) is my favorite so far!
The first book I read was Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and it was chosen by me as my book group's July discussion book before I even signed up for the challenge. Very convenient!
When I think about describing this book to someone, the words "light and fluffy" come to mine. It is the story of the Waverly women who live in Bascom, North Carolina. They are all gifted with a special talent and have a magical apple tree that grows in the garden of their ancestral home. If you eat an apple from the tree, it shows you your future - good or bad - so the Waverly's have done their best to prevent anyone from eating the apples.
Sydney Waverly comes home to Bascom after being away for a number of years, bringing her daughter Bay. She and her sister Claire have been estranged and the story focus on the gradual rebuilding of their relationship as well as the blossoming of both of their lives into something more. It explores the sense of place you have within both a family and a place.
While I enjoyed the book, I felt there were too many character lines to follow to give the book meatyness. I think it would have been much better if the author and narrowed her focus a bit and more fully developed just a few of the characters. And I just didn't find this book very Southern feeling to me. All in all, it was an enjoyable read by a first time author. I plan to get the author's latest book out of the library as I've been told her writing is much better developed with this.