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Editorial Reviews

They say you’ll never find friends like the ones who knew you when you were young — and for the women in Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper, that wisdom is half right. The story traces the relationships between two sets of women — Agatha and Georgie and their granddaughters, Paxton and Willa — who travel the winding path of lifelong friendship and the detours along the way.
Narrator Karen White lends her gentle tone to three generations of families in the town of Walls of Water, North Carolina, a southern escape that’s become more of a trap for Paxton and Willa. As part of a celebration of the town’s Women’s Society Club, started by Agatha and Georgie when they were teenagers, Paxton takes on the overhaul of the town’s most acclaimed property: A breathtaking mansion that Willa’s relatives were forced to sell when they lost their fortune. But when landscapers discover a dead body buried on the property, the town starts looking at the Club, the property, and its history in a whole new way.
Paxton and Willa didn’t grow up as friends, but as adults they’re forced to work together to solve the mysteries their grandmothers left behind. White balances the complicated relationship of Paxton and Willa’s youth — where they weren’t exactly enemies but definitely weren’t friends — with their grown-up emotions, their love for their grandmothers, and their burgeoning friendship. Her grounded narration keeps listeners hooked while Paxton and Willa deal with questions of trust, surprising confidences, and unexpected similarities (along with one’s romantic entanglement with the other’s brother). In the end, The Peach Keeper is a story about the friends you make, the friends you keep, and the friends you never forget. —Blythe Copeland
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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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 30-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 75 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.
©2011 Sarah Addison Allen (P)2011 Random House
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Barbara on 05-09-11

Narrator was terrible

Love the author but the narrator's voice droned on and on ... It was hard to get through the book with her extremely, painfully slow, staggered speech pattern she chose for the main character ... Such a shame that a narrator can ruin a good book.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Jennifer on 10-09-11


I've been an Audible member since 2001 and have over 320 books in my Library. I can honestly say that the narration of this book is the WORST I've ever experienced! So much so, that I nearly gave up on the book 20 minutes into it as I found myself focusing on the annoying narration style rather than the book. The narrator's voice would frequently swing from breathy to scratchy (as if she were pulling the last bit of air from the bottom of her lungs) several times within a sentence. Her cadence was completely off, rising and falling inappropriately, as if she were doing a newscast (and not a very good one) rather than narrating a book.

This is a shame because I find Sarah Addison Allen's books to be charming. I am frequently amazed at how in tune she is with the senses (particularly the sense of smell), nature, and the relationships between women--all the while weaving in a little magic. While Sarah's books likely won't win any awards, they are a pleasure to read and I find the content refreshing.

I gave this particular book 3 stars assuming that 3 stars is an "average" rating. I reserve 5 stars for hands-down outstanding books such as Stieg Larsson's books and "The Peach Keeper" isn't Sarah Addison Allen's best work. Don't let this deter you from reading the book though--just be sure to do it in print!

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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