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Garden Spells [Paperback]

Sarah Addison Allen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 May 2008

Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that's been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.

Claire has always clung to the Waverleys' roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies - famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs - until one day she waked to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden . . .

Claire's carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.

Frequently Bought Together

Garden Spells + The Peach Keeper + The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Price For All Three: 19.37

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (15 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034093574X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340935743
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Addison Allen is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon and The Peach Keeper. She lives in North Carolina, where her novels are set.

You can discover more at, find Sarah on Facebook at, or follow her on Twitter @SarahAddisonAll.

Author photograph credit: Melissa Markis.

Product Description


mesmirising ( Choice magazine)

'An unusual but mesmirising read' (Choice)

A lovely tale of desire and gastronomy ( Irish Tatler )

'Definitely one to put in your suitcase this summer - a warm, sunny holiday read.' (newbooks magazine)

Book Description

A magical, utterly delicious debut that will cast its charm over everyone who loved Chocolat or Fried Green Tomatoes. Be enchanted by a delicious international bestseller...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly magical! 4 Aug 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is such a treat to read. Allen writes with such beauty and intrigue. Its so mystical, yet completely believable. The reader gets carried into the the wonderful world of Claire Waverley's garden, in North Carolina and you really can believe you are there, however you feel a sense of loss when you finish the book as you just want to keep on reading! Totally Enchanting!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All too familiar... 28 Feb 2008
I read this book in one sitting so I suppose that says something... The story carries along nicely, and there is a sense of place, I could feel the heat and smell the garden. But it's too like "Practical Magic" by Alice Hoffman... I kept expecting another old aunt, and wondering why the characters had names that weren't Sally and Gillian! And then it doesn't have the subtle magical quality Hoffman has, the magic is there but its all too in-your-face for my liking, apple trees all but talking, a list of spell ingredients in the back... It's a good book to fill in a gap whilst I wait for Hoffmans' latest. I do recommend it but read "Practical Magic" and maybe a few others by Hoffman too, ("The Probable Future" has the same "witchy" feel) and yes as the publishers describe it do read "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris as well.
It's a good start and I look forward to Miss Addison Allen developing her own style in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LOVELY AND MAGICAL 22 Aug 2011
This is a lovely little book that is light and easy to read.

In a small town in North Carolina, people have their own myths and superstitions, and each family its own characteristics that pass from generation to generation. Particularly, the Waverley women are known for their magical garden where everything grows wild regardless of the season, and their special apple tree which tells the future. Each generation of Waverley women has to find a way to cope with the family's magical inheritance and the way the town treats them. Claire clings to this magic, keeps to herself, tends the garden, and although the enchanted delicacies of her catering company are very popular in the town, she lives as a recluse and doesn't let anyone in. Sydney, on the other hand, had her heart broken, trying to fit in and escape being a Waverley, so she run away after graduation and tried to become someone else. When Sydney returns with her daughter to the safety of her home, the two sisters have to understand each other, accept their uniqueness, and come to terms with their roots in order to find love and happiness.

This coming of age story is well written, with nice descriptions and well developed characters. Although the idea is very original, I found the plot a little predictable and perhaps a little underdeveloped. The descriptions were beautiful, but sadly I didn't really see, smell, and feel the garden as much as I would like. Also, I wish there were some recipes for the dishes Claire prepared with edible flowers from the magical garden, as they sound interesting, but they just don't seem real.

The book also includes a fascinating section with notes on the edible flowers "From the Waverley Kitchen Journal".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, magical read. 23 Nov 2010
Garden Spells had me enchanted from the beginning. A fairly relaxed paced read, following the lives of two sisters facing up to their destiny as the oddballs in the small town they grew up in. The way in which the author mesmerizes the reader into this very special, magical world which revolves around the sister's talents and house is really powerful.

A really good can't-put-it-down read, with laughs and tears in, as well as the feeling of accomplishment and a good outcome at the end. As a reader I really felt part of this book, and can't wait to read more from this author.

An enjoyable good read, and one I'd recommend, especially if you like quirky, magical type books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely absorbing 30 May 2010
I have read this book twice now. Each time, I begin sometime during the afternoon and find myself obliged to keep reading until I finish it the same evening...

This is a low-key tale of everyday life in a small American town, laced with charming mystical elements, including the Waverleys' apple tree, the fruit of which reveals the biggest event in the life of the eater, and the recipes Claire produces in the kitchen of the old Queen Anne house, which affect the eater in various ways.

The combination is a curious one, but completely successful. The magical effects of the Waverleys' garden are blithely accepted by all (though they do find the Waverley family rather peculiar), and it becomes simply a feature of everyday life in Bascom. The story is pleasantly romantic, with its darker elements effective but never overdone. All in all, it's a favourite read for a Sunday afternoon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blooming magical story with excellent flavour 18 April 2010
"Garden Spells" definitely builds on the wonderful legacy of Alice Hoffman's "Practical Magic", but it has it's own flavour.

Claire lived in the Waverly house, taking care of the blooming garden and her catering business, when a man moves in next door - and he takes interest in her; and Claire's estranged sister, Sidney and her daughter Bay show up on Claire's doorstep. What follows is a tale of accepting the past, one's self, and the opportunities that arise when we least expect them.

Magic plays a role in the story in a subtle, realistic way. Sometimes it is just the gossip and superstition of a small town i.e. that family is strange, the men of that family die/marry young. It is the always blooming garden and the strange apple tree. It is knowledge of herbology and cooking. It is the belief that things happen that we cannot explain, but that the universe around us has its ideas.

This is a magical story, excellent for both a holiday by the pool or a day on the couch when it's raining.


P.S. My "only" 3 stars is due to the close resemblance to "Practical Magic".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Read
I love Sarah's books , they are inspired. Really make you care about the characters. Would love to see a sequel to this and The girl who chased the moon. Well worth Reading.
Published 2 months ago by Anna Goode
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Easy Read!
I love magic in books, the way it can send you to another place but fancied something a little different for a change. This book was perfect. Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Knowles
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant feel good book
This book is great if you like romance with a bit of magic. Her best book and just joyful. Very easy read, goes well with a glass of wine and a hot bath! Read more
Published 2 months ago by C. Serginson
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Spell Bounding
A friend gave this to be when I was on holiday. I didn't want it to end. I knew I had found a write that I would follow from book to book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by katmarvel
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly enchanting
This is one of my favourite books, and I rate all of Sarah Addison Allen's books highly, but this one just breathes magic for me. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Gascoyne
4.0 out of 5 stars i really like
i really like this by Sarah Addison Allen, it is the favorite of her many fans, however for me personally i preferred the Sugar Queen and The Girl Who Chased The Moon. Read more
Published 8 months ago by tilliemint
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely magical tale
Beautiful descriptions throughout a well crafted and original story that captivates the reader. Really enjoyed it. Makes me want to visit North Carolina!
Published 11 months ago by J. Escolme
4.0 out of 5 stars a magical book
A book full of magic and love. It's a beautiful book populated with fantastic characters. I know I'll read it again.
Published 12 months ago by Adore Books
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful little book
This was a present from my partner, never heard of the writer or book but thought id give it ago that evening. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Deanna young
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read
Really enjoyed this fairy tale type story, nice to read a bit of a magic book. Very girlie chiclit indeed.
Published 16 months ago by LC
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