Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Allen

Garden Spells by Sarah AllenThis was a book for my real-life book group. It is not a standard reading group book, and if I’m honest, there is not all that much to discuss about it. But we wanted an easy read in the busy month of December and that’s what this was!

Garden Spells: What it is about

Sydney Waverly escapes her marriage to David by climbing out of the window, so her neighbour can’t raise the alarm and call David, who is on a business trip. She takes her daughter Bay with her and drives across country back to her childhood home, where her sister Claire is still living.

Claire is a caterer and uses the flowers and herbs from her garden in her meals, as they are said to have special powers. Sydney stays with Claire and helps her with her business. Her former high school boyfriend and his wife think she’s returned to come and steal him away. However, Claire only wants a quiet life.

There is the constant worry that David will find out where she went. Meanwhile Claire is making meals with ingredients that should keep her new neighbour Tyler away from her (Claire), but he seems to be resistant!

Garden Spells: What I thought

This was a fun and easy to read book. I finished it in one day (a lot on a train journey and then the rest in the evening).

It was fun to read about the sisters, who are drawn to each other although they are slightly mistrustful of each other after not having seen each other for a long time.

There were a few men in the book, such as the old boyfriend, the neighbour, and one or two others, and they served only as love objects for the sisters (or decoys for the reader). That was a bit too obvious, but they were great guys and it made a fun story.

I liked it that the magic was very subtle. Most of the time, what happened could be explained away in other ways, so there was no waving with wands or calling out spells.

What I liked a lot was an old aunt who’d come by with objects that no one needed but they would accept graciously. Then, a few days later, they’d find that they really needed that object for something important. This happened several times.

In all, a fun and easy book to read, with some magic and romance.

Rating: 4/5

I got this book: from the library

I read this in: Dutch (Liefdeskunsten, the original language is English)

Number of pages: 270

First published: 2007

Genre: women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, magic realism

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

17 Responses to Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Allen

  1. A magical story for December, perfect 🙂 The first that came to mind when reading your review was how much it resembled Chocolat (even though the protagonists of that book aren’t running away from a man), also a fave.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Chinoiseries, on the cover, this book is compared to Chocolat, so it’s funny to see that you make that connection just from my review. It’s a nice and easy book for the holidays, definitely.

  2. Nadine Nys says:

    Looks like a fun read, Judith, but no, I have to resist. You,ll see the reason in my post on The Books of Life on January 1st.

  3. Care says:

    This author writes magical delightful books that make me happy. I thnk he stories are light and satisfying.

  4. shannonjoe says:

    I am now following your blog and have added this book to my TBR list which is evergrowing! This book sounds like just the kind I need for my Christmas break from my 6th graders-a book that I don’t have to think about while reading! 🙂


  5. Its on my shelf… I look forward to it!

  6. This does sound funny and you have given it a good review but I do not think it will make my wishlist, I just have to learn not to add every book that has a good review from my blogging buddies. 🙂

  7. I picked this one up at a flea market a few months ago but haven’t got around to it yet. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

  8. Uniflame says:

    I have read this book a while ago and I really enjoyed it 🙂

  9. Marg says:

    I look forward to each new Sarah Addison Allen book as I know I can get lost, even if it is just for a few hours!

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