Thursday, April 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday #4 - The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Pages: 273

Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Genre: Magical Realism
Source: Purchased

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: 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.

Why I love it: I picked up a copy of The Peach Keeper the first time I went into what is now one of my favorite bookstores. I had recently moved from Portland to South Portland, so I was eager to see what my neighborhood new & used bookstore had to offer. The store itself is lovely, but my favorite part is their deal with used books: buy four books (at 1/2 the original cover price), get a fifth book free. Maybe not the best deal for used books out there, but I certainly couldn't turn it down. The Peach Keeper was one of the five books I picked up on that first trip; it was my first book by Sarah Addison Allen, her fourth book to have written (and newest at the time), and I fell in love. I went in the next week to pick up another, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and then the following week I ordered the remaining SAA books, Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen. SAA is now an auto-buy author for me, and it all started with The Peach Keeper

I'm struggling to find a way to rave about this book the way it deserves, and not like I have a very limited vocabulary and can only say things like, 'I love the characters in this book' and 'I love Willa and her outdoorsy gear/coffee shop,' but I really DO love them! Most of the story takes place in the present, but there are occasional flashbacks to Willa and Paxton's grandmothers' earlier lives. And Willa and Paxton's social lives are just so interesting. Willa has basically forced herself into isolation from the people and the town she grew up in, choosing instead to spend her time with newer transplants to Walls of Water, like her employee and coffee guru, Rachel. In contrast, Paxton's social life revolves around the Walls of Water Women's Society Club, full of  the same women with whom she had grown up. The secondary characters in this story are just a wonderful, and there's even an appearance by Claire Waverley from Garden Spells

The Peach Keeper (or anything else by Sarah Addison Allen) is such a great addition to the magical realism genre, so if that's something you love or want to check out, I definitely recommend it!

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