The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Summary from Goodreads:
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 and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.
The Peach Keeper. I was excited about this book due to it's title. It's such a delicious title that and the fact that Sarah Addison Allen books are known as comfort reads. I was ready to feel as snug as a bug in the rug. But after reading this book, I'm quite glad I started with Garden Spells as my first Addison-Allen read. The Peach Keeper doesn't quite measure up to it but still, it's a pretty great one-sitting rainy day read.
First off, I think Sarah Addison Allen did achieve the point she was trying to get across, the importance of true friendship. She was able to convey the progression of friendship between two seemingly opposite individuals that are Willa, the intense one with a rebellious past and Paxton the prim and proper, A-type, and without a hair out of place society girl. I liked the premise of having the new generation share a certain bond with the old generation. You know, like how you were best friends and now your daughters are too. Sappy things like that. :) Despite being polar opposites, they are drawn to each other by a certain bond deeply rooted in their grandmothers' past filled with magic, intrigue, and murder. As the two set to solve the mystery behind the corpse found in The Madam they began to discover a lot about their ancestors, about what it was like for them back in the days. How the town has changed overtime. both it's inhabitants and the surroundings. I like how this discovery of ancestry has led both girls to ultimately come to terms with who they are and finally taking the courage to be that person. Sure their families/bloodline says a lot about them but it is only part and parcel of the kind of person they wish to be. They began to see each other differently as well and thus a new relationship between the two blossomed .
As to the romance, it's swoon level was just okay for me when it came to Colin and Willa. It maybe only because, I wasn't quite fond of Colin. I just couldn't understand exactly what Colin's fear was and why he kept on insisting that Willa be her old high school self, The Joker (prankster) again. I did love Paxton and Sebastian's romance more. Sebastian's fears and doubts, I do understand. He was having a sort of identity crisis. He is also not your typical guy's guy, and is certainly a unique individual and I could see how he could be the one to break Paxton out of her shell.
The magic was more subtle than in Garden Spells. And this one has taken a more darker turn with it due to the fact that the magic issued from someone as sinister as Tucker Devlin. As to who he is, is up to you to find out.
Although I was a bit underwhelmed by this book, I still think it has enough of that Southern charm and intrigue which what made me finish this book until the end and read other Sarah Addison Allen books when the opportunity presents.
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