GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen

When you see a pretty cover and a title that has the word ‘Spells’ in it, and the author has three names and the first one is Sarah with an ‘H’,  you know there will be some light magic, some kind of love story, and possibly fireflies.

Well, we lost out on the fireflies, but there was plenty of fanciful stuff going on, and love is definitely in the air.

OK, it’s chick lit, but it was lovely, basically about home and what constitutes home, and abandonment and reconciliation.   Sounds terribly heavy, but you know how a spoonful of honey etc. etc.

Claire Waverly was pretty much a recluse, a gal in her thirties who lived in the big old house her grandmother left her.  It has a bossy apple tree in the garden, which throws apples and demands to be in on everything.  If you eat an apple from that tree, you will learn what the biggest event in your life will be.  Since one’s death is usually the biggest thing in their life, it is not a good thing to know.

Claire has been estranged from her sister Sydney for ten years, ever since Sydney left town and never made contact again.  Claire never knew her father, and her wild-living mother  came back to town to stay with her mother, (Claire’s grandmother) when Claire was 6, because she was going to have another baby.  When that baby was six, she left again, and died in a car accident.

There is a wonderful character, a distant relative, Evanelle, who feels a strange compulsion to give people things, and it always turns out the recipient always needed the item in the future.  Everyone in town looked forward to seeing Evanelle, and her gifts.  Me, too.  I wish she lived around here.

After being physically abused by her current boyfriend, but afraid to leave because of their 6 year old daughter, Sydney finally has enough and escapes in the middle of the night with her daughter and comes back to the Waverly house as the only safe place she can think of.

We have the requisite attractive single male next door neighbor, the requisite best guy friend from second grade, now conveniently single and attractive, some snobbish women who look down on the Waverlys, and let me see, what else.

Oh yeah.  Claire makes a living baking and catering.  What makes her stuff special is that she uses botanical magic in her products, this flower for one thing, this herb for something else.  Like that.  Her products are in great demand.

Sydney is a hairdresser, and when the town sees the fabulous transformation that Sydney did to Claire’s hair, she now realizes she has her own share of the Waverly magic.

Do the Waverlys overcome all obstacles, and find the right guy?  Well, of course.  It wouldn’t be chick lit if they didn’t.  Do you wish you had a little light magic going on in your life?  Well, of course you do.  But look closely, maybe you do, and just haven’t recognized it.

As you know, I love happy endings.  Because being happy is its own sort of magic.

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