Monday, December 1, 2008

The Sugar Queen

By Sarah Addison Allen
Bantam Fiction
Reviewed by Heather F.

I adored Garden Spells, the first novel by this author, when I read it several months ago. I recently started going to the library again and The Sugar Queen was one of the first books I checked out. I had a feeling I would love it just as much as GS and I was so right!

This is the story of Josey Cirrini. In her late 20s, she has settled for a life of living, and caring, for her tyrannical mother, who believes Josey’s sole purpose in life is to do her every whim. Josey’s only consolation is the piles of sweeties, romance novels, and travel magazines she keeps hidden in her closet. That is, until she comes home one day to find resident bad girl Della Lee Baker camped out in there. Begrudgingly, with the feisty Della Lee’s pushing, Josey’s world suddenly changes. She’s making friends. She’s going out to festivals and restaurants, much to her mother’s displeasure. She keeps running into her longtime crush, Adam, the postman. And she’s finding that there’s more to life that she ever dreamed.

What didn’t I like about this book? I loved everything about this book. The story, the characters, the whole atmosphere of the book was wonderful. I adored the characters. Josey felt like a best friend by the end of the book. All the women were fantastic; well-drawn, strong, and resilient. But Chloe, with her knack for 'finding' the right book at the right time stole the show for me.

It was one of those books that you just feel at home with, as soon as you open the cover and read the first page. I loved the magic of it.

My favorite part of all was when Chloe encountered all the books that had been trying to get her attention throughout the book sitting in her bathroom door, just barely touching the bathroom floor. Right before that it was said that books never came to her in the bathroom and then she turns around and there they are, putting a "toe" in, so to speak.

This book glows with love, tenderness and humor – and an extra dash of magic. Here lies a spellbinding tale of friendship, love, and life -and the enthralling potential of every new day.

A few favorite quotes:

"She stuck her head out and took a deep breath. If she could eat the cold air, she would. She thought cold snaps were like cookies, like gingersnaps. In her mind they were made with white chocolate chunks and had a cool, brittle vanilla frosting. They melted like snow in her mouth, turning creamy and warm."

"Books can be possessive, can't they? You're walking around in a bookstore and a
certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to
get your attention. Sometimes what's inside will change your life, but sometimes
you don't even have to read it. Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book
around. Many of these books haven't even had their spines cracked. 'Why do you
buy books you don't even read?' our daughter asks us. That's like asking someone
who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course."
Read more about the author and her work here.

1 comment:

Bookfool said...

I love Allen's magical touch and her characters are so warm and lovable. Great review, Heather!