Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Magical Realism
Cover: A+ (I love it!)
*I own a physical copy of this book.
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.
But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.
For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.
Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
Well, I’ve officially read all of Sarah Addison Allen’s work. I’m up to date, so a big congratulations to myself is warranted. You don’t have to congratulate me, I already did that. Ha.
I am a huge fan of her writing, her characters, settings, and use of magical realism. That being said, holy crap was I disappointed with this book. I’d been wanting to read this since it came out, and when I finally got around to it, I was ready to savor every word. And it ended up falling really flat. Major sad face here. I don’t know what happened, but this book was not nearly as good as her other three. And I wish I knew why! I can’t pinpoint it, but I really feel like her heart wasn’t in this book like it was in the others. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s how it really felt to me.
The characters were great, but perhaps not as well-developed as they could have been, and the love story really didn’t draw me in like it did in Garden Spells. I didn’t appreciate the characters as much as I did as the ones in The Sugar Queen. And the setting didn’t blow me away like the setting in The Girl Who Chased the Moon. And man, I was kind of hurt over this. I hope it’s not a trend. Whatever was missing from this book, I hope she gets it back for the next one. I will always be a fan of her writing, and her books hold treasured places on my shelves, but I really wanted to chuck this one out the window. Seriously.
And it wasn’t memorable. Like, at all. I read this book close to a week ago and I’m finding myself having trouble remembering details. And I can think back to her other books that I read months ago, and remember things as if I read them yesterday. That’s not a good thing. I’m just stating facts. And the thing was, everything was there to make this book a fabulous read, but in the end I didn’t think it came together in a remarkable way. So here’s to hoping that the next book changes the way I feel. Cuz I feel poopy. 🙂
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. It was a solid effort, and if you haven’t read any of her other work, then you will probably enjoy it. But coming from the stance of a huge fan, it just didn’t stand up to her other books.