Claire is a successful caterer with special talents. All the members of her family had special talents; it’s part of the magic of her family’s house. In the backyard is a apple tree with fruit that gives the recipient a glimpse of the biggest event of that person’s life whether it’s good or bad.
The tree imparts a bit of magic beyond its fruit. The plants Claire uses in her recipes come from the ground beneath the tree and depending on what she adds her customers can have any emotion she wishes for them: bliss or sadness. There’s no casserole that can help Claire though. She lives alone and refuses to let anyone into her life. When she gets a new neighbour with a twinkle in his eye and her long lost sister and niece show up, Claire has to figure out if she can make room for them in her heart.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is the kind of story that whisked me away, as cliché as that sounds. There were things that if they’d been in any other story I’d find it hard to swallow. A magic apple tree that throws apples at people? Yeah, sounds bizarre, but it works. Family issues, including the sisters’ abandonment by their mother add strife to the plot. Then there’s sister Sydney’s past, the recent past with her abusive ex and the past with her old friends at home. It’s enough to keep things interesting. The motives of some of the characters made me think, “Hmm, seriously?” but it wasn’t enough to keep me from reading. The magical aspects, like the tree and Evanelle, were quirky not hokey, even for a skeptical gal like me.
Garden Spells was a fun little story for a Saturday afternoon. I breezed through it quickly.