I’d gone back and forth about which books to start my round of blog reviews, but after my “I swear I’m only here to buy one specific book, but oops I ended up with FIVE” moment (see picture above LOL), I figured I had my winner. Sarah Addison Allen – let me tell you alllll the reasons why I absolutely love her books.
So, you would think a “book review” would relate only to one book, but frankly I couldn’t pick just one of Sarah Addison Allen’s books to review, so you’re getting my quick notes on all the ones I’ve gotten my hands one.
And just so you know, I have flat out loved every one I’ve read so far. No really, all of them.
Allen writes adult magical realism which is a genre I’ve rarely read prior to now. Practical Magic is one of my favorite movies, and I’ve wondered what it would be like to read more books like it, but just hadn’t gotten around to looking. The downside of being an avid reader – sometimes my shelves get so full I just don’t have the time to seek out new authors! In any case, I’ve been debating on trying to write something in this genre, but needed to find some more books to read before I trusted myself to do the genre justice. My writer buddy Em Shotwell (@mamacrazysocks) introduced me to this author, and I can’t thank her enough.
So why am I so gung ho for Sarah Addison Allen? There are several reasons.
First, the relationships between women in all of her books are just stellar. They are messy, complicated friendships and sibling bonds and fragile connections between mother and child, and all of them are vital to the women involved in these books. While I like a good romance as much as the next girl, it’s the feminine relationships that I feel are often missed in a lot of the books I come across. Considering it’s my chicas who’ve kept me sane over the years in between and during various dating fiascos, I think that’s something more women need a chance to embrace and celebrate in fiction.
Not to say the romances aren’t a bonus here, too! What I love most about the men in these books is just how clear it is that they adore the women in their love lives just for being who they are. It’s just refreshing.
The settings. Oh man oh man the settings are so rich! Coming from a small Southern town, I could totally feel like I’ve been each of these places just from the descriptions. The towns and houses of each book definitely feel like characters in and of themselves. I love that I can just fall into the world of each book with very little effort.
The magic! I know that magical realism is going to have magic, obviously, but it’s the variety of the way Allen’s magical rules work in each book. Whether you want to read something more overt, ala GARDEN SPELLS’ Claire Waverly and her gift for creating mood with her cooking, to the subtle, like LOST LAKE’s mysterious reptile, there is a book in the series just for you.
So which was my favorite that I’ve read?
I think my fave would have to be THE PEACH KEEPERS. I’m honestly not sure what makes me prefer this one to the others, but I definitely do think this is the one that made me sigh and smile like a loon the most upon finishing it. That tends to be the best sign that a book hit me right in the feels. LOL.
So have any of you read any of Allen’s books? Or have another great magical realism author or series to recommend? I’ve been inhaling the genre and more to read is always welcome!