Garden Spells

Garden Spells

Book - 2008
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In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it....

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants--from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys--except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down--along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy--if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom--or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own....
Publisher: New York : Bantam Discovery, 2008.
Edition: Bantam Discovery trade pbk. edition
ISBN: 9780553384833
Branch Call Number: ALLEN S
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

Booklist starred review: "Take a pinch of marigold to stimulate affection, add a dash of snapdragon to repel evil influences, finish with a generous helping of rose petals to encourage love, then stand back and let nature take its course. It may be the recipe for Claire Waverley's successful... Read More »

This fun novel offers wit and plant magic as the Waverly sisters embrace their family’s heritage.

From the critics

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ArapahoePamelaH May 15, 2019

In the Waverley garden in Bascom, North Carolina, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties grows over the back garden. Meanwhile, three generations of Waverley women grow into their future of magical possibilities. The first in a series and pretty wonderful.

Mar 14, 2019

Think Alice Hoffman takes a trip underneath the magnolia trees and meets up with Flannery O Connor... and you come up with this book. This book is as sweet as the honeysuckle that wafts through the night and tickles the nose and the senses of the Southern ladies sitting out on the veranda. Here is a small book that is enormous in its impact on the soul. It has a slow Southern charm, more than a hint of magic, and characters who are entwined with each other even as they push each other away. The apple tree, the garden, weave their spells around the souls that are yearning for passion and fulfillment. So tender and enchanting that every read feels like the first time.. this is about the magic of love that is found in each one of us, and the ultimate gift that life gives us, that is never too late to love ourselves and each other. Beautiful prose and magic moments throughout this dear little book.

Anyone in the mood for a light, sweet story and some magic will enjoy this book, particularly if you like Southern US literature. You really do need to be in the mood to totally suspend your disbelief, but it’s worth it. The magical apples show the eater either the very best or very worst moment of their life. And each of the women in the Waverley family have a special gift. For example, caterer Claire cooks delicious dishes using edible flowers that affect the diner’s emotions. Their distant relative, Evanelle, has perhaps the most interesting yet frustrating skill – she gets feelings that she must give people things. All kinds of things – gadgets, spare change, clothing – she can’t rest until she’s given them the item and they always end up needing it, though sometimes for strange or unwelcome reasons. I love Addison’s writing style, and I was enchanted by these Spells, by the Waverly women, and by the whole town of Bascom, North Carolina. (submitted by GH)

Aug 22, 2017

A delightful read!

SquamishLibraryStaff Mar 20, 2017

This is my go to title when I'm ready to dive into a lovely story studded with one families history and their connection to flowers and plants. Suspense, town gossip, and a magical apple tree make for great entertainment.

Mar 01, 2017

Adorable story. This book was recommended to me and now I have 3 more of her books. Love them

Oct 11, 2016

I loved this story!

TSCPL_MichelleM Jun 03, 2016

This is easily my favorite of Allen's books.

Jan 18, 2016

The apple tree was my favourite character, along with clueless Claire. I absolutely admire authors who can make a character out of an object (i.e. Gladys, the bicycle, in Alan Bradley's novels).

CMLibrary_gjd_0 Jan 03, 2016

Not my usual type of read, but I read this for a book club and thoroughly enjoyed it. Set in North Carolina featuring a family of witches. Don't worry, they're not THAT kind of witches, they just know herbs and like helping people. I'd call this a gentle read.

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Mar 29, 2011

p. 233.
You think I'm going to leave?" [...] "No one I know has ever had this forever." "I think of the future all the time. All my life I've chased dreams of what could be. For the first time in my life, I've actually caught one." He kissed her again before grabbing his shirt and standing. "I'll give you one day at a time, Claire. But rememer, I'm thousands of days ahead already."

Mar 05, 2010

"She sometimes thought she was going crazy. Her first thought when she woke up was always how to get him out of her thoughts. And she would keep watch, hoping to see him next door, while plotting ways to never have to see him again. "

Mar 05, 2010

"It was like the way you wanted sunshine on Saturdays, or pancakes for breakfast. They just mad you feel good."

Mar 05, 2010

"She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened."

Mar 05, 2010

"She was so Southern that she cried tears that came straight from the Mississippi, and she always smelled faintly of cottonwood and peaches."

Mar 05, 2010

"To Fred, those years seemed to pass like quickly skimming a book and then finding the ending wasn't what he expected. He wished he'd paid more attention to the story."


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Jun 29, 2014

Jorilynn1989 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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