Sarah Addison Allen’s books are magic.
They really are. The stories have magic in them, but the real magic is the joy that they fill you up with once you’ve finished the book.
Her first two novels were Garden Spells (enchanting) and The Sugar Queen (my favourite). Her new novel, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, is a Southern tale of barbeque, magic, family secrets and redemption.
Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby North Carolina hoping to answer the riddles of her past. Who was her mother? What was she hiding from? And why couldn’t Emily be the person her mother wanted her to be?
She arrives in Mullaby to meet the grandfather she never knew; and discovers that there is more to life than she thought possible. Her grandfather, Vance, is a giant. They call him the Giant of Mullaby. But he is not the oddest thing that lives inside their house.
The wallpaper in Emily’s room changes depending on her mood. And, late at night, Emily sees the Mullaby lights, quick moving shapes that move like quicksilver through the trees behind their house.
When Win, a local boy, starts showing an interest in her, Emily is flattered and flustered all at once. How were his family and her mother connected? And what secret is Win hiding? Why can’t he and his family go out at night?
Julia Winterson runs J’s Barbeque. She plans to stay for six months and pay off her deceased fathers debts. And then leave. Nothing had been good for her in Mullaby and there was no reason things should change now.
To pass the time before she gives herself her freedom, Julia bakes cakes. All kinds of cakes. Cakes mean welcome, they mean joy. But for Julia, who guards an earth shattering secret, cakes mean so much more than that.
Sawyer has always had a sweet sense. He has always been able to smell cakes, no matter where they were hidden. They drew him, called to him. He can see the sprinkles of sugar in the air, the twists of vanilla in the breeze. And Julia’s cakes call to him.
But will she forgive him for what he did, so that their love can grow?
Sarah Addison Allen really is magic. Her understanding of people, of the way they interact with each other, of the magic of life is incredible.
She writes such beautiful, incredible books and, because there is usually some element of food involved, I usually find myself quite hungry during the reading of one of her novels. But I don’t mind at all.
Her sense of observation is spot on, her dialogue rings true and her characters are people you can love and care about and dream about long after you’ve finished the book.
Though her books are always grounded in reality, there is always some element of magic to them, some element of the unknown, that takes what could be a saccharine storyline, but which becomes utter joy in Sarah Addison Allen’s hands.
Her books are joy; she creates joy. And that is the best magic of all.