Thursday, April 7, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on April 14, 2011
Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian

The Peach Keeper By Sarah Addison Allen

Near the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina there is a fictional town called Walls of Water. It is a town where descendants of logging families live cheek-by-jowl with descendants of antebellum Southerners who saved the town from ruin when the logging industry dried up. Those that live there are deeply rooted to the town; no matter how far afield they go, they are drawn back, and friendships are renewed long after they once faltered. Although in recent years the desire to out-do each other has overshadowed their friendships, the women of Walls of Water have always stuck together in times of need, and so it goes when Willa Jackson (a free-spirit who is now firmly-grounded and likes it that way, thank-you very much) comes to the aid of the usually-all-together Paxton Osgood, who is slowly suffocating under the pressure of perfection and unrequited love. They do not know it, but Willa and Paxton share a common history, one that is linked to an odd, lone peach tree on the grounds of a restored mansion, one that has borne secrets but never fruit; a tree that spontaneously grew 75 years ago but is taken down during landscaping and releases its secrets, creating waves of havoc - unseen but felt - in everyone involved with the old mansion. Willa and Paxton discover more than they could possibly have imagined before all the mysteries have concluded. 
The Peach Keeper has all the natural magic elements and day-dream-like atmosphere of her other novels, especially in her nicely-rounded characters, and readers familiar with Sarah Addison Allen’s other books will feel a thrill of recognition when Claire and Bay Waverly make an appearance from her first novel Garden Spells. Fins The Peach Keeper and other titles reviewed in this column at under the tag “shelf life reviewed”. 

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