The Peach Keeper
Sarah Addison Allen
***** (5 out of 6)
Cover - The cover is nice - has a sense of mystery to it. It's pretty, pleasing to the eye.
The Peach Keeper is set in a southern town (Southern, United States), a typical small town with your average small town feel, where people seem to know each other their whole lives - a place where some can't wait to get a way, and where some feel stuck, and yet others feel like they belong there. In this novel, there is just a touch of the magical realism that Allen is known for.
Willa Jackson is doing her best to be uber-responsible to make up for all the strife she believes she caused her father and grandmother in her youth. She's running a business, visiting her grandmother at a nursing home regularly - she has each night planned out with such responsible activities such as vacuuming, washing her hair - she's so responsible she doesn't even go out to have fun. Luckily for her, she's rented out space for a young girl named Rachel to sell coffee and coffee themed desserts in her store - and Rachel is making up a new science. Analyzing people's coffee orders.
Paxton Osgood is another responsible soul - so responsible that she hasn't left home at the age of 30 because she listens to her mother. She runs a women's society that was started by her and Willa's grandmothers and is in love with someone she doesn't think will ever love her back.
Willa's grandmother, Georgie and Paxton's grandmother, Agatha have a history that goes way back. Agatha's family has always been rich and of the high society. Georgie's family used to be rich, but lost their fortune long ago...
Colin is Paxton's twin and has come home to help Paxton landscape an old property she's been renovating - this property used to belong to Willa's grandmother's family. Colin is the type that leaves home. Willa is the type that left home and returned, but feels like she needs to stay. Sebastian - Paxton's unrequited love - left home long ago and ended back home. Paxton is one that feels like she belongs....
Even though over the years, Paxton and Willa haven't been friends, their lives - along with Colin's, Sebastian's and the grandmothers' lives all converge. There was a huge peach tree (which no know why it even growing there) on the renovated property, slated to be replaced by a native oak and it was hiding something.
I have enjoyed all of Sarah Addison Allen's three previous books. With each, I ended up thinking - wow, what an amazing book. After I read The Peach Keeper, I thought, that was a good book. I'm not sure what the difference was for me. There was some of the magical realism, as in the other books - but I guess I was expecting a lot more of the magical, the mystical. It was there, just not as much. I liked it, I liked it a lot. I didn't love it like the other three though - and I want to emphasize here, that The Peach Keeper was a good read, with interesting characters, narration and good dialogue. But where in the past books the magical realism was almost like another character, here it was more in the background and since I was expecting more of that, that's probably why the book was good rather than amazing for me. Probably not fair, since I'm comparing it to the previous books - and usually I try to judge each book on its own merit. So I'll probably hang to it for a while - a year, maybe - and re-read it. See if next time, it's amazing for me.