Claire Waverley is weird. Everyone in Bascom, North Carolina thinks so. But she can cater a meal! Her special talent is the use of edible plants and flowers that grow in the garden behind her house -- the house that has been in the Waverley family for generations.
All Waverley women have strange gifts. Claire knows which flowers and plants evoke certain emotions or behaviors in those that eat them. This makes her catered events very interesting. Claire's Aunt Evanelle has to give people things. They may need the item soon or not for quite a while, but she always seems to give them things they will need, no matter how bizarre the gift may seem.
Sydney, Claire's sister returns to Bascom with secrets. She left suddenly ten years ago, and Claire hasn't heard from her since. She also returns with a young daughter, Bay. Bay knows where things belong, and she feels uncomfortable until she manages to get things (or people) in the right place. Sydney seems to be the only Waverley who doesn't have a gift, or does she?
Every character in Garden Spells is special, and I could go on for quite a while about them. The romantic interests, Henry and Tyler, are both perfect. The gay store manager (whose name I can't think of -- remember -- audiobook) adds a special element to the story. One of the best "characters" is the apple tree in the garden -- the one that throws apples at people, bends its limbs to grab onto things, and whose apples can't be eaten -- unless you want to have a vision of the most important event in your life.
Garden Spells put me in such a good mood. I can't explain the feeling evoked by this story. It reminded me a little of Practical Magic. The movie -- I can't speak for the book because I haven't read it yet. But I love that movie. It makes me happy. And the little magical touches in Garden Spells that seem so natural, and the slow burning romance made me feel happy too. The whole time you are reading (or listening) you know there's going to be a happy ending. And you want that more than anything.
I think Garden Spells has some appeal for teen girls too. I have a lot of romance readers that will throughly enjoy these characters and their relationships. Love, love, love. I need to go find another book by Allen.
Susan Ericksen is the reader of the audiobook and she is nothing short of perfection. Her voices are delightful, and not over the top (my pet peeve.) I will listen to any of her work. Garden Spells goes on my list as one of the best audiobooks I have experienced, and I highly recommend it.
Published by Bantam, 2007, Brilliance Audio
Audiobook obtained from the library
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