Alrighty, this was my first book finished as part of the readathon. It was also the poll winner for what you lovely readers wanted to see read & reviewed here in April.
I love Sarah Addison Allen. Her past three novels were all filled with such a wonderful, magical, delight. I lost myself in each story, and I love them each for different reasons. All that being said… this is unfortunately my least favorite of hers so far.
The Peach Keeper revolves around two 30-year old women, Paxton and Willa. Both live in the little town of Walls of Water, NC. While vastly different, these two women have a lot more in common than they think. Paxton’s very well-off family buys the mansion The Blue Ridge Madam, and Paxton’s working hard to see it restored to it’s former glory so that she can host the 75-year anniversary of the local ladies’ club there. A bit of a mystery comes up when something is found buried on the land there, and it draws Paxton and Willa together – learning about their family’s histories, and themselves, in the process.
This novel is really different from Allen’s other novels, which isn’t by itself a bad thing. The mystery aspect of the story was kind of intriguing, though mystery isn’t usually my thing. The magical realism so often found in Allen’s other books isn’t as strong here, and I think that’s part of why I like it less. The magic was less pronounced – there were spooky little hints of it here and there, making it more gothic and mysterious-feeling than her other books.
As for the characters: they were interesting and I liked them all a lot. I found the dialogue among them to be a bit forced though. The conversations that some of them had, especially with those other characters that they weren’t close to, just didn’t feel real to me.
All this being said though, it was a good book. Things like mystery, less magic, and the dialogue are just some of my little issues / preferences. And it did convey that wonderful small, hometown feel that I love about Allen’s books. They always make me want to drop everything and move to a tiny little town in North Carolina where everyone knows everyone else. Also, there were some very cute quotes (though a bit cheesy). One quote I really liked:
“Her grandmother used to tell her that a pink sky meant someone in the distance had just fallen in love…”
Just that one line is great to me. I wish my parents or grandparents had said such plainly fanciful things to me as I was growing up. It’s such a beautiful way to look at the world. I think maybe I’ll try to think of things like this to say to my nieces and nephews as they grow up.
Anyways, good book overall. If you’re familiar with Sarah Addison Allen, expect it to be a bit different than her other novels.
Sarah Says: 3.5 stars