By Sarah Addison Allen
I don't normally read too many fantasy-type books, but this one had just the right touch of magic. In Garden Spells, we are introduced to the Waverly family. Each member has a special gift. Evanelle has a tendency to give people things that they only later on realize they need (two quarters for someone who, days later, needs to make an emergency call; new sheets for someone who suddenly receives a surprise visitor, etc.) Sydney is a Waverly sister with a knack for cutting hair in such a way that it brings out the very best in a person's apearance. Bay is Sydney's daughter. She knows where things belong; where a fixture in a house belongs, where a person belongs.
And then there's Claire. Claire lives in a special home with a special apple tree in the backyard. Anyone who eats one of that tree's apples will see the most important event of their life happen. The herbs in Claire's garden are also special. They help Claire to make delightful foods for her catering business that help people to see things in a different light; a woman who wants her husband to notice her more, a person who wants their friend to show more understanding, and discouraging unwanted attention from a new neighbor.
The author does a great job of weaving the mystical elements into the story without it feeling like a mystery. This is just the world of the Waverly's and everyone in the small town where they live knows it. It was a fun story, a quick read, and would be great for a women's book club.
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