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A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants - from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor.
Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys - except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.
When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down - along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy - if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom - or with each other.
"Spellbindingly charming, Allen's impressively accomplished debut novel will bewitch fans of Alice Hoffman and Laura Esquivel." ( Booklist)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Joihelene on 10-09-10
I so want to give it 5 stars...!!!!
I have always enjoyed a little bit of magic in storytelling. Though I'm not a big fan of romantic novels, Garden Spells has just that type of mix of magic and romance that I enjoy. This was such an enjoyable read that I wish Ms. Allen would continue writing about these characters. I really enjoyed the Waverly's and their garden, especially their special apple tree. The southern charm was almost a character unto itself. I wish there was a cookbook that accompanied the novel so that I could try some of Clarie's recipes; and the obvious knowledge of edible flowers and herbs was extensive, making me want to start growing a flower herb garden. The only reason I couldn't give this a 5 star rating is because of the lack of detail in some of her writing. I would have loved to know more details about Sydney's life in Seattle or Clarie's when she was young with her mother or how Clarie had decided to become a caterer. I felt drawn into the Waverly home but intimate details outside of that magical place was pale in comparison, which may be Allen's intention. But I often wished as I read that instead of telling me things, she would show through character development. But this doesn't take away from how much I enjoyed the obvious love & magic of these characters and overall story. I will be listening to this book again and again just to stop in and visit these characters and this interesting magical place. A great first book!!!
34 of 37 people found this review helpful
By Jinkies on 08-26-08
I just loved it! The author is so beautifully descriptive and the narrator was just perfect. I loved the scents from the Waverley garden and kitchen. I could feel the magic of those scents and the colors that celebrated Claire's mood and passion. I can listen to it over and over. I originally bought the hardcover book, but couldn't pack it when I went on vacation because of airline weight restrictions. So I downloaded the audiobook to my MP3 player with the intention of giving away the hardcover book. Oh no! not anymore. This book is a keeper!
24 of 26 people found this review helpful