07 May 2011

The Peach Keeper, by Sarah Addison Allen

There aren't many things in life that can matter more than friendship. It will stand the test of time, old age and silly little arguments, no matter what.

Sarah Addison Allen has once again brought a startlingly sad and sweet tale that combines people, love, and relationships with just a hint of magic that borders on the realm of coincidence. The Peach Keeper is a surprise, bursting with richness set in a curiously eclectic Southern town in North Carolina called Walls of Water that boasts tourist traffic for its famous waterfalls, along with the mystical morning fog that tends to slightly disorient visitors. The famous fog from Walls of Water is also sold in jars. Tourists love that.

Willa runs an outdoor store in her regimented, even boring, life. After all, Friday night happens to be vacuuming night. Quite a difference from her years in high school many moons ago as the known prankster. And Paxton, a high society princess has much more heart underneath all of the precision and planning she so religiously undertakes in every aspect of her life. Working on bringing back the dilapidated manor that once roared with life seventy five years ago so that she can hold a gala, she is consumed with order and makes lists as a hobby. In order to clear out the weeds and to allow for the landscaping to begin, an aging tree out front is removed, which unearths a most unique discovery that brings the past into the present, and ties Willa and Paxton together into an unexpected friendship.

There's no other way to say it except that Sarah Addison Allen has never let me down. She's my comfort read, the type of author who paints a magical world somehow stuck in the midst of reality. I am drawn to her work because it completely removes me from the day-to-day stresses and makes me think for just one blissful moment that perhaps there really is just a little bit of magic still left in the world. I was hooked on when I first read Garden Spells. Then The Sugar Queen, and now, The Peach Keeper. Color me giddy with glee when I realized that there is apparently a book that came out after The Sugar Queen that I didn't know about and I can pick up! 

Her mixture of magical realism, friendships, and food, leap out of the pages with its lyrical dance of description so effectively, I can feel each moment, sense the oddness in the scene with what could very well be just coincidence, and taste the sugary sweetness of the food that is fleetingly described.

This is yet another remarkable story from Sarah Addison Allen of friendships, love, and a reminder to never let a chance of true happiness ever slip you by. And as I mentioned the other day, Sarah Addison Allen is the "sucks-you-in-and-keeps-you-reading-until-your-vision-blurs" type of storyteller. I eagerly await anything she writes. Absolutely anything.

Go. Get. This. Book. Now.

If you enjoyed Liz Michalski's Evenfall and of course, Alice Hoffman, then you should pick up The Peach Keeper right away. Oh, and The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, too. All equally magical, heartwarming, and delectable.

  1. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a trash man. I would spend hours daydreaming about riding on the back of a garbage truck, jumping off at every house and dumping people’s trash into it.
  2. I was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, a place Rolling Stone magazine once called "America’s New Freak Capital."
  3. I have my B.A. in Literature, a major I chose because I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.
  4. I can’t turn away stray cats and I’m convinced they know this.
  5. My father was a copy editor, reporter and award-winning columnist for our local paper.
  6. My mother has a nose ring, but we pretend it’s not there.
  7. Garden Spells, my mainstream debut, didn’t start out as a magical novel. It was supposed to be a simple story about two sisters reconnecting after many years. But then the apple tree started throwing apples and the story took on a life of its own...and my life hasn’t been the same since
Visit the author on her website by clicking here.
Visit the author on Facebook by clicking here.
Follow the author on Twitter by clicking here.
Many thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this book, and apologies for noting down the wrong date to post. Upcoming tour stops are listed below - if you haven't visited the blogs below, now is the time!
Wednesday, April 13th:  Knowing the Difference
Friday, April 15th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, April 18th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, April 19th:  Book Reviews by Molly
Wednesday, April 20th:  A Few More Pages
Thursday, April 21st:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, April 22nd:  Life in Review
Monday, April 25th:  The Broke and the Bookish
Tuesday, April 26th:  Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, April 27th:  Crazy for Books
Thursday, April 28th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Monday, May 2nd:  Fizzy Thoughts
Tuesday, May 3rd:  Coffee and a Book Chick
Wednesday, May 4th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 5th:  Alison’s Book Marks
Friday, May 6th:  Bookfoolery and Babble
Monday, May 9th:  A Library of My Own
Tuesday, May 10th:  Teresa’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, May 11th:  Unabridged Chick
Monday, May 16th:  A Bookshelf Monstrosity
Wednesday, May 18th:  Two Kids and Tired
Friday, May 20th:  In the Next Room


  1. I just got this book from the library. I'm so excited to read it!

  2. I think I might literally be the only person in the world who just doesn't get into her books (I've read two) because I'm just not big on magical realism. Comfort reads are sooo important so I think it's a good thing that she's that for you as I'm sure she is for lots of other readers!

  3. I just love her books - I finished The Peach Keeper I think on Thursday or Friday - pulled almost an all-nighter to finish it because I love her books that much! She is pretty amazing - your review is fantastic! I should just skip writing a review and say "see Natalie's blog" for my post - lol!

  4. I can hardly believe I've yet to read any Sarah Addison Allen! I love magic realism, and her books all sound so charming. Which one do you think is the best to start with?

  5. I am in Jenny's camp. Garden Spells almost got thrown out the car window. I don't have a problem with supernatural elements...I like those actually. But her characters were just maddeningly annoying. I suppose I should give this one a try, since you asked. Maybe it was just a mood or something.

  6. Jenny and Sandy - :) Try this one; it might be a little lighter on some of the elements you mention. For me, Sarah Addison Allen works every time! :)

    Meg at A Bookish Affair - Can't wait to read your thoughts on it!

    Stacy at A Novel Source - Too funny! :) I am exactly that way as well with her works. If it's a choice between sleeping or finishing her book - finishing her book it is!

    Nymeth - I would highly recommend Garden Spells; that's the one that hooked me in the most!

  7. I couldn't agree more. She never lets me down either. I MUST buy this book soon.

  8. Lucky you to have missed one of her books. I'm sad that I've read them all and have to wait for the next one!

  9. This one sounds really good, and the cover is beautiful. I hadn't heard of this author before, I don't think she's very well known here in the UK.

  10. I have heard such good things about Allen's books and have one on my shelf that I have sadly been neglecting for way too long. It sounds like this book is just about perfect and also like one that I would really love. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it with us, this seems like something I shouldn't miss!

  11. I can't wait to read one of her books! I had no idea she was born and raised in Asheville - I must be a freak, because it's one of my favorite places in the world!

  12. This sounds so amazing!!! I really want to read this one.

  13. This is the Mother's Day download I'm going to treat myself with!!! The Girl Who Chased the Moon (the book you still have to look forward to) was the first book I read on my Nook that completely sucked me in and let me see past the device. LOVE her!

  14. I love, love, love Sarah and my wonderful children got me The Peach Keeper for Mother's Day. I know I'll end up staying up to the wee hours to read this one.

  15. This book sounds like a lot of fun! I need to read this author soon!

  16. Sounds like a great read and I love the inclusion of the interesting facts about the author too!

  17. I'm glad this one is so good. I've loved everything by Sarah Addison Allen so far and I'm anxious to get to this one!

  18. Oh I love love her books. I agree they are my comfort reads. Love the magic. Can't wait to hear about what you think of The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

  19. I don't think I've ever read anything by this author. Will have to check it out!

  20. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Thanks so much for being on the tour and sharing The Peach Keeper with your readers!

  21. I like reading through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
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