3.15.2011

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: Bantam Books
Format: Hardcover (courtesy of Bantam Books)
Genre: Magical Realism
Publication Date: 3.22.2011
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.

First things first: I love the cover! It's gorgeous, and my favorite of all of her books. It also happens to be the exact shade I like best of my favorite color: green. :) Now on to the review....

Every time I read one of Sarah Addison Allen's books, it reaffirms why I love them so much. She somehow manages to create characters that you can connect with, and gives them experiences that you wish were your own. But my favorite thing is the perfect amount of the fantastical that she is able to infuse into each book. It's like her signature style, something she does very well, and it's definitely present in this book.

In The Peach Keeper, Sarah brings back some of these elements, the deep characters, their complicated histories, and strange occurrences that have no explanation but serve a purpose. We are told the story of a town with a shady history, and characters whose histories are a little shady themselves. The reconstruction of the Blue Ridge Madam brings up old skeletons (literally), and sets the characters on paths that will change their lives. And this time, with the discovery of a possible murder, there is just a taste that hints of the supernatural...complete with one or two spine-tingling instances.

I did find The Peach Keeper to be a little different from her previous works, because it seemed like there were more stories it was following. They blend together seamlessly though, giving us a story about love, friendship, guilt, loyalty, and forgiveness. It was a charming book to read, and I got to escape into the lives and drama of the citizens of Walls of Water for day.

And if you are looking for a book that makes you feel, this is a sure-bet. These are characters who are dealing with real life, which isn't always easy. The tension they feel, their reluctance to accept what fate has given them, and the emotion that comes from it all is felt by the reader through Sarah Addison Allen's sweet, intelligent, writing.

To sum it all up: I loved it. Although it hasn't kicked The Sugar Queen out of my favorite of her books, it remains one of the better books I have read this year. I think Sarah Addison Allen is a brilliant writer, and I heartily recommend not only The Peach Keeper, but any one of her previous works.

Read this if:
...you believe in love, you don't believe in coincidences, and you take your coffee with extra cream and no sugar. Don't know what I mean? Read the book. 

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content.*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{A few make out scenes and references to sex, but nothing too graphic.}

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow. You did it! I'm envious! I should go buy this asap. Thanks for the wonderful review.

    OK so now that you've read the new one? Which is your fav?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.

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