Sarah Addison Allen is a new author to me and The Peach Keeper is a book I chose purely after reading reviews of it on other blogs; I would never have heard of it otherwise. It tells the story of two very different women, Willa and Paxton, in the fictional town of Walls of Water, North Carolina. Willa is trying to escape from her small town roots and past without actually moving away and Paxton looks like she has the perfect life but is a mess of anxieties underneath. When a human skeleton is uncovered under a peach tree on the grounds of a house they are both connected to, the two women are thrown together and discover a lot about themselves and their family histories.
I don't think I am the right reader for this book. There was technically nothing wrong with it, it's light but well written and the story skips along at a pleasant pace. There are elements of magical realism but they are on the whole well done and there is decent character development. Despite this, I came away from this book overwhelmed by the sweetness of the whole thing.
It's the same feeling I got after reading The Secret Life Of Bees, there was just too much that was cliche, too much sisterhood and female bonding and far too many happily ever afters. Too much sentiment for this particular reader. The male characters seemed to exist solely for the reason to make the female characters happy (but of course only at the end of the novel). The plot developments were predictable and as the tone didn't mesh with me, there wasn't much pleasure in watching them unravel.
I've just reread that last paragraph and it does sound very harsh. Don't take just my word for it, there are plenty of reviews I've seen praising this book highly. As I said, it's not poorly written and there are elements I enjoyed; it's just not my kind of book. If you don't mind a bit of sentimentality with your escapism then it could be the book for you.
Verdict: Well written story of two women in small town America with magical elements, unfortunately too sweet for me.
First Published: March 2011
Score: 2.5 out of 5
I guess the sweetness to this one (and most of Sarah Addison Allen's books) was what I liked most about it. I do understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but sometimes when I read too much darkness and depravity in fiction I really enjoy a totally sweet and sappy work to balance it out.ReplyDelete
Hmm, we will have to agree to disagree :)Delete
I can see why lighter reads are good after reading something dark or heavy going, but this was too sweet for me. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't...
I felt the same way about The Sugar Queen, nothing awful about it but just a bit saccharine. I also didn't enjoy The Secret Life of Bees.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I don't think I will hunt out any more of SAA's books. Maybe it's our stiff upper lip Britishness coming out?Delete
I felt the same way - I was not the right reader for this book. I read it because I had read her novel Garden Spells which I did like. This one just didn't work for me. - FrancesReplyDelete
I am glad I am not the only one, but then no book is right for everyone. I don't think I will read any more of her books, but if I do I will bear Garden Spells in mind. Was it not as sweet?Delete
I recently added this book to my goodreads to-read shelf after admiring the cover, title and general reviews. But now I am not so sure. I do not want to read a book that's "sweet".ReplyDelete
It's a short book that's easy to read, and I do know that it appealed to a lot of people more than it did to me. Maybe it's right for you, but if you don't like too sweet, then steer clear.Delete
I've read several of Sarah Addison Allen's books, and I found this one to be the least satisfying. My faves: Garden Spells and The Girl Who Chased the Moon -- less female bonding.ReplyDelete
Hmm, after reading this one I was pretty sure I wouldn't read any more of her novels. But if the others are better....Delete
I doubt this one is for me either, but Garden Spells has been on my wish list for a long time.ReplyDelete
I have heard a lot of good things about Garden Spells..Delete
Really great post. I'll definitely check this book out.ReplyDelete
Hope you enjoy it more than I did, Gina!Delete
I couldn't read this type of book all the time but I do enjoy them on occasion. I've read Allen's other books though not this one yet (but I want too).ReplyDelete
That's true, this type of book is good for the occasional cosy Sunday afternoon read. I've heard Garden Spells is the best of her books?Delete
I'm a big fan of Alice Hoffman, and when I read Garden Spells, it was... fine... but it felt like a copycat to me. She's popular around here in the south, a native, but I agree with it feeling too light.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a great read and I love the inclusion of the interesting facts about the author too!ReplyDelete
Marlene Detierro (NC Photo Booth)
Sarah Addison Allen has produced another bewitching novel filled with lavishly evocative prose and amazing characters. There's mystery, there's unexpected romance and there's a lovely feel to this story that makes it somewhere enjoyable to visit. I loved it!ReplyDelete
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