What an enchanting book - it almost seems like a new genre of fiction to me. The author's style is to weave two things - food and magic - together into one story. I read an interview where she said that this wasn't her intention - that she just wanted to write a fictional novel - but the apple tree started throwing apples at people and then it took on a story of its own. Good thing that apple tree decided to speak up. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary fiction - but this added just the right touch of something else, something new and different.
Claire Waverly comes from a long line of Waverly women who are each blessed with individual gifts. Claire spends her time in the garden gathering herbs that have all kinds of magical side effects - Honeysuckle allows you to see in the dark, Lemon Balm brings you back to your childhood, Angelica calms hyper children (I would love that one!) She has her own succesful catering business and a happy, quiet life until her younger sister shows up, needing a place to live. Of course, there's lots of romance and an interesting storyline and all that, but the best part is that this is a Southern Fictional story operating under a few new guidelines.
The apple tree in the story is a character in itself, causing all kinds of mischief behind people's backs. There's lots of tidbits to make a humdrum fictional story into something as delicious as one of those apples - men who are in love trailed by a hazy, violet light, an old women who walks around town giving people just what they need - a men's shirt, a ball of yarn, two quarters, a mango slicer. I loved that not only the Waverly's have a magical gift, but every family in the story has something that stands out about them.
I think she has done the same thing with The Sugar Queen, can't wait to read it!