Sunday, June 10, 2012
The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.
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 during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.
But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.
For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.
Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.
I always love the writing of Sarah Addison Allen- they are such wonderful stories of women and everyday magic, and a little extra magic as well. They are southern, magical, and beguiling.
While I really enjoyed The Peach Keeper, I was not as enthralled as I had been while reading Garden Spells. (although Garden Spells is so similar to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman I think) It was one of the first by her I have read that the main characters were not special in some way, like the characters in Garden Spells were. I was the girl who grew up looking for fairies in our rose bushes, and that aspect of me has not totally gone away. I like to believe somewhat that there are people out there who can do incredible magical things, which is a reason I love Allen's books. This one did not deliver much of that, but it was nevertheless a book I enjoyed reading.
The main characters were people very different from one another - Paxton, a rich, OCD chick who lives with her parents, Willa, a woman who owns an upscale hiking supply store but hates nature and was known as the Joker in high school, Paxton's brother Colin, and Sebastian, Paxton's seemingly aesexual friend that she is in love with. They all seem to be sad in their own lives, wanting more but not knowing what it was they wanted or how to get it.
Then the reopening of the Blue Ridge Madam shakes up the all their lives. It has a history that ties Willa and Paxton together, as they try to sort out the mystery of their grandmother's friendship, Tucker Devlin, and their own budding friendship and romances. I genuinely enjoyed watching these characters grow and find their own happiness.