Synopsis from Goodreads:
The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.
For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.
As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.
This one is a re-read for me, because I needed to refresh my memory before I dive into Sarah Addison Allen’s new book First Frost. I love the wonderful Southern voice put into each of these stories. The story of the Waverly sisters is enchanting…especially since there’s a little bit of magic to the story. The imagery is so vivid, you can almost smell the wonderful recipes that Claire creates in the story and you’re transported right into the little town of Bascom, North Carolina where the majority of the events in the story happen. Garden Spells has a few separate story lines, all woven together beautifully–it’s not confusing like some books written that way. This one is a quick read, it’s not very long, but perfect if you’re looking for something quick, easy, and enchanting. I gave it four stars on Goodreads.