Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

I have just finished reading this irresistible follow-up novel by writer Sarah Addison Allen. I have been a fan of her since reading her bestselling debut novel, "Garden Spells" as i really love her magical style of writing. Again i found myself eager to step into her new magical world of a tale of a young woman whose family secrets and secret passions are about to change her life forever with the intrusion of a strange woman into her secret closet... Brimming with warmth, wit and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.
As in "Garden Spells", magical things are happening all over town. My favourite character is Chloe as i really envy her being able to read any books she wants without having to buy or search for it in the library. Books just appear in front of her since she was twelve whenever she needs them. She'll walk into a room, and there's a book that wants her to read it. The only creepy thing is they would follow her sometimes too and when she leaves the book at home, it will show up at work or in her car or bathroom. One rather persistent book, Finding Forgiveness, makes its first appearance on page 36 and continues to appear throughout the story and it was quite comical when she started scolding the books as if they were living things. I would definitely recommend this book to fellow book lovers :>

I also like the strange and sad twist of the reason for Della Lee's sudden existence into Josey's life. I actually felt sad for her when i read that she was so sick of her life, of not knowing how to be around decent people or to live without stealing or lying. Destructive behavior was a comfort to her and she was such an unhappy person. I was glad that at least she found a true friend in Josey at the end and at least someone would remember her for the true person she was and not for all the bad things she had done in her life. Sarah Addison Allen really did a great job of showing the importance of family ties in her books and it is always heartwarming reading her books.

The story goes that Josey Cirrini, at 27, is a sheltered rich girl in a North Carolina resort town. She lives alone with her overbearing and cruel mother and a housekeeper. She does not go out except to do chores for her mother. She does not wear clothes that her mother says does not suit her, and she eats, secretly, as a substitute for the life she's not living. At 27 she has no friends, no social life, and is busy doing her mother’s bidding in an effort to atone for the horrible way she behaved as a child. Everyone in town knows who she is because her late father Marco Cirrini built the ski resort that lifted the town out of poverty.

Josey has been secretly in love with the mailman and meets him on the porch each day but does nothing more than say hello for 3 years. She’s living a small little life, driving her elderly mother to her various appointments and social events, and living for the moments alone when she can indulge her massive sweet tooth and gorge on mallomars or oatmeal pies from the secret stash in her closet. Her mother, Margaret has hated her since the day she was born as she bears a close resemblance to the late Marco Cirrini. Josey is sure of only three things in her life: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favourite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night...

One morning, when she goes to her closet to raid her secret stash of sweets, she finds a woman sitting there. Della Lee, on the run from something in her own life, has decided to take up residence in Josey's closet. Delia Lee Baker, a tough talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis-and two parts fairy godmother....Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey's clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she's going to change Josey's life because clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlings keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey also bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them and most amazing of all has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush, Adam. Thus begins Josey's quest to get Della Lee out of her closet, and along the way she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom any time -- even for her. It seems that Della Lee's work is done and it's time for her to move on. But the truth about where she's going, why she showed up in the first place and what Chloe has to do with it all is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey's fast changing life.


Mary said...

I loved this book! Even more than Garden Spells. I can't wait for SAA's next book due out next year. I've never read magical realism books before but she has me hooked.

I enjoyed seeing your blog. I have a dog like your brother's (it's a Jack Russell Terrier). His dog is so cute!

Lady Jan said...

Dear Mary,

thanks for your comment. I also enjoys reading your blog. I'm planning to borrow 16 Lighthouse Road from the library soon after reading your review. Do post pictures of your dog on your blog, can't wait to see him/her :>