Genre: Fiction/Magical Realism
Date Published: 2011
Publisher: Bantum Books
# Of Pages 273 pages
Synopsis: 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 and once the finest home in Walls of Water North Carolina--has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate--socialite Paxton Osgood--has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight in. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property's lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery. Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families--and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.
.....For being sweet, simple, and short
This was a sweet, predictable story, and exactly what I needed right now; short, simple, and a breath of fresh air.
Predictability is huge in this novel. You can figure out within the first 50 pages how this whole plot is going to play out. It's part of what made this story so quick and easy to read. Friendship and love were also major in this book, with a strong message of always being there for your friends, making this a lovely little novel.
I think what prevented me from truly loving this story, however, were the brewing romances that are a staple in every Allen novel. The tales didn't feel all that complete and fully fleshed out, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I did like how both the men and women were pushed to change, rather than just the women (you know what I mean--guy enters girls' life and turns it upside-down, girl ends up accepting change and falling in love. This time girl also gets the guy to accept change).
The magical realism in the story also felt a little incomplete, but it really wasn't the focal point in the story, so I can't say it was a real negative point for this book.
I love Sarah Addison Allen's stories, although I have to say Garden Spells is still my favorite. So I was surprised to see a tie-in to my favorite story in this novel, in the form of Claire Waverley catering to one of the events. I always enjoy tie-ins, so it was a pleasant surprise to see it here.
Overall, I found this story entertaining. Like I said earlier, it's sweet, simple, and predictable. I see this being an excellent beach read, so if you're looking for something to read while on vacation, I would recommend this one.