Many people have compared this debute novel by Sarah Addison Allen to another book- Practical Magic. I can see the similarities: Two sisters with a bit of family related magic and their mother died when they were young. But here is the thing: The movie Practical Magic (in my honest opinion) is so much better than the book it's based on! The book and movie are nothing alike. And again, in my opinion, if Garden Spells is anything like Practical Magic it would be similar to the movie - not the book. But enough of the comparison, this book is great and it is a must read. Let's chat about why it's so wonderful:
Allen weaves this wonderfully descriptive small town life where you begin to feel that you personally know all of the residents. Her descriptive language brings to life the most central location of the book: The Waverly's magical garden. No matter the season that you read this book you'll be able to visualize the colorful flowers and even catch their scent. Her characters are also incredibly strong which is at times rare for new writers.
This story of two North Carolina sisters brings to you the subject of family and finding where you belong in the places where you are least likely to find yourself. It tells of letting go of who you are and embarrassing other opportunities. There is always the chance that you'll be much happier that way.
I found this book the summer after I had graduated from college. I was interested in enjoyable reads that didn't leave me scratching my head too much. For the first two months after my graduation I felt completely burned out, which is apparently a common occurrence for college graduates. I was searching for something entertaining, easy, and enjoyable and this book fit that mold. I discovered that at times I'm more like the character Claire and at other times the sister Sydney. I certainly grew a passion for gardening due to the detailed descriptions of gardening life. It's summery feel leaves you feeling awake and full of energy but it's hard to part from the book for long. It's a quick read but I guarantee you'll want to reread the book again.
Whether or not it is similar to Practical Magic, there should be more happy and bright books such as Garden Spells on the market. Enough with the depressing books taking new views on the problems of the world. We all need a little brightness and magic in our lives. If you're searching for that taste, turn to Garden Spells, I doubt you'll be disappointed and only left wanting more.