Book Review: The Peach Keeper

Synopsis According to 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 during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it."

I'm a fan of Sarah Addison Allen, especially after reading Garden Spells. But this book...this book gave me an entirely new appreciation for her. Of the 3 of her novels that I've read thus far, The Peach Keeper is definitely the most adult. It features themes and concepts about coming into your own, and growing past the expectations of others (as all her novels do) in a richer setting than I've experienced before. 

Unlike her other novels, in The Peach Keeper magic is dangerous, strange, and predatory. And although happy endings abound, it's the happy endings that come from taking chances, not just from facing hidden facts about yourself. For these reasons, and the fact that the main character from Garden Spells has a cameo in this story, The Peach Keeper is on my must-read list.

If you are 30, or at that point in your life where you don't know what you want to be when you grow up (but you know that you're more than who you were in high school, or what others want you to be), you need to read this book.

I'd also recommend it to folks who enjoy contemporary "chick lit" fiction, or want to be inspired to visit North Carolina (which is more subtle of a character in this book than her others, but still sounds lovely).  Also, fans of romance, history, magic, and small towns.

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