Friday, March 25, 2011

Group Review: The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper: A NovelSummary: 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.

Jenn's Review: It's magnificent. It's perfect. Her best yet. Need I go on? No, but I gladly will.

Sarah Addison Allen is one of those authors whose works I must own in hard cover on publication day ...and I want a digital edition too, just so I can always have it with me.  She makes me want to sink into a comfy chair and never put her book down.  It's like a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a snowy day.  Her writing is delicious.

"Every life needs a little space.  It leaves room for good things to enter." ~pg 70  I love that all the characters in Allen's books are struggling to find their way, not because they're overly flawed or damaged beyond repair, but because life is a journey full of crossroads. The characters are all likable in their own way, even if they have lessons to learn, and each has a little piece with which the reader can identify.

"Happiness is a risk.  If you're not a little scared, then you're not doing it right." ~pg 238  This is a theme in many of Allen's books, but it's a good one that bears repeating.  I love the friendships in her books,  the ones formed, and even the ones left behind.  To move on in life, one has to grow, and in Ms Allen's books, the journey is sprinkled with a little magic along the way.  Her writing is the perfect mix of whimsy and reality.

Out of all of her books, this one was the least food-centric, but, surprisingly, I didn't miss it all that much.  Yes, Rachel is working on her coffeeology, which I loved, but food and cooking do not play a predominant role here. Although speaking of food, I was delighted by the brief cameo of the Waverly's from Garden Spells, Allen's first book.

This is my favorite Sarah Addison Allen book so far, though I feel like I'm choosing a favorite child by stating that...  I still keep going back and reading little snippets to myself just to enjoy the last little morsels.  I'm so enamored, I may even go back and re-read all of her books this summer.  She is my comfort read and I urge you to try her books, so that she may become yours too.

Final Take:  5/5

Julie's Review: You know how when a favorite author releases a book that you've been so hungry for that you devour it? Then you instantly regret it, not because the book was bad, but because you know it's at least another year before their next book? That's me with Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper. I started it the night I received it via UPS. I love getting lost in Ms. Allen's world. It's ripe with love, mystery and magic. Can you think of a better place to get lost?

The Peach Keeper is her best novel yet. It takes a lot for me to say that because Garden Spells definitely worked it's magic on me when it came out. We are introduced to Willa Jackson and Paxton Osgood, who are seemingly different but in the end are very similar. Willa was the misunderstood girl, while Paxton was the popular princess. Now in their early 30s they are struggling to figure out just who they want to be and not what other people want them to be. Both are closed off but in different ways. Willa is trying to live the life her father would have wanted for her and Paxton is trying to live up to the family name. Paxton is in love, the head over heels kind, with Sebastian Rogers, the former high school misfit, who moved back to town a year prior. Willa is so closed off that she doesn't even want to think about the idea of falling in love, especially with Colin Osgood.

What Ms. Allen does so well is the magic and the setting. In each and every one of her books I feel like I'm there. This was no exception. I could picture the Grand Blue Madam and the tree that sat alone on the property. I got chills reading this book when the characters were experiencing the same thing. Coincidence? I think not! She tells these stories in a way that is every bit relatable and wonderful. I loved the background story of Georgie, Agatha and their friendship.

The Peach Keeper is about family, friendship and finding your way. Embracing that part of you that you tried to bury and forget.

I truly can't find one thing that I didn't like about this book. The cover is beautiful and the words on the pages are engulfing.

Final Take: 5/5



Stephanie March 29, 2011 at 2:11 PM  

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Sarah Addison Allen. That woman can do no wrong in my book. All of her novels are perfect and wonderful and put a smile on my face. Glad you guys enjoy them too!

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