THE PEACH KEEPER is another delightful example of why I love Sarah Addison Allen's books and the magical themes she puts in them. Here is a brief tidbit about the book, and as always I've left all spoilers out, so don't worry if you have't read it - I'm careful to give nothing away.
In the small town of Walls of Water, North Carolina, Willa Jackson and Paxton Osgood live such separate lives, that their paths seldom cross. They've known each other since childhood yet they don't consider each other friends.
The Jackons and the Osgoods have deep roots in their community and that history is part of the reason these two have a strained relationship. Willa's family used to be very wealthy and help to put Walls of Water on the map with their logging company that employed many of the townsmen back in the day. But as the economy suffered through The Depression, the Jackson's were forced to close the business, therefore leaving most of the employees without an income. The Jackson's themselves lost everything, including their family home known as The Blue Ridge Madam, built by Willa's great-great-grandfather. Willa has few memories of the grand home, but her connection to it tugs at her soul. Paxton's family bought The Madam and has restored it and converted into an elegant inn with a grand opening gala planned.
Scandal arises when during the landscaping phase of the renovation, skeletal remains are dug up during the removal of an out of place peach tree. The girls reluctantly team up and approach their grandmothers, who live in the same nursing home for answers, hopefully before the police discover the connection the two older women have to the apparent victim.
My Thoughts -
As usual, Sarah Addison Allen has woven a story rich in southern charm, suspense and that magic she is known for. Right away we get to know Paxton and Willa and realize how different they are and the vulnerabilities they share. There's a lot of self discovery within the pages, not only with Willa and Paxton, but also with Paxton's twin brother Colin and her friend, Sebastian. I really enjoyed those four characters as they grew to know each other better and trusts began to develop. I also enjoyed how each of these characters learned so much about themselves and were able to become more comfortable in their own skin and not be so guarded.
The magical element of the story is subtle but ever-present and gives the book a whimsical feel. Addison-Allen paints a lovely picture of the small town and all it's treasures, including The Madam. I could close my eyes and envision the little town in my mind and almost smell the peaches. In fact, I did smell peaches while reading this charming book. I'm serious! I was lucky enough to win my copy of The Peach Keeper from Random House on Twitter along with a peach-scented Yankee Candle. So when the book arrived they were packaged together so that every time I opened the book or turned a page, the scent of peaches found my nose. It was actually quite a clever idea and made the experience of reading the book even more charming!
THE PEACH KEEPER is one of those books that just makes you happier for reading it. I'd like to thank Random House for my copy that I can now add to my Sarah Addison Allen collection. With Spring right around the corner, this would be a fantastic book to read on Spring Break.
THE PEACH KEEPER
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Published: January 2012
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!