*** About the Book ***
Claire Waverley is content. She is perfectly happy to be on the outer edges of town life, living in her grandmother's old house and tending to the family garden. The garden brings her peace, and she in turn uses her "family talent" to turn the flowers into delicious delicacies. In fact, she's used her family's eccentricity to create her own business - a catering company that creates food that influences its eaters in not-so-subtle ways.
Claire's quiet life is interrupted when her estranged sister, Sydney, returns after a ten year absence, with a young daughter in tow, and moves back into the family house. Claire is torn between the comfort of her old life and her desire to be a family with her sister and her niece. She's also trying to fend off the attentions of her new neighbor. Meanwhile, Sydney's arrival has stirred up the town gossips and re-opened old wounds.
And in the middle of all this is the apple tree in Claire's garden that keeps tossing apples at anyone nearby ...
*** Why I Read It ***
My book club voted to read this for our October meeting. My copy came from the library.
*** My Thoughts ***
Confession #1: I did not want to read this book. I thought it sounded stupid and boring. I was not looking forward to wasting my time, and I put off reading it until the week before book club.
Confession #2: I WAS SO WRONG ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!!
Ok, so ... yes, the plot sounds rather silly, and yes, this is not a genre that I ever - EVER - read by choice (women's fiction maybe, but Southern fiction never). BUT this book is wonderful! It is somewhat predictable and not all that deep, but it is a comfort read if ever I read one. And it is original in a way that is completely endearing.
The "magic" in this book is presented in the tradition of magical realism. It is simply a part of life, a part of the way the world works, and as such it merits no explanation. The characters, and hence the reader, simply accept it and continue on with the story. "Yes, Claire can make food that has special powers. Yes, the apple tree has personality and thinks for itself. And your point is?"
I breezed through this book in just a few days. It was a pure pleasure to read and I will definitely pick up a copy of the author's other books.
I am a bit concerned about my book club meeting though. I mean, I really enjoyed this book but I don't know that there will be a great deal to discuss. I hope the gal who is in charge of this meeting comes up with some good questions. There are some great short stories, recipes, and general tidbits on the author's website so maybe I'll bring some of those along ...
(Oh, and I have to tell you - I love that apple tree! I want to hug it and kiss it and lay under it and decorate it with ribbons.)
*** Your Thoughts ***
Have you ever been completely wrong about a book, in a good way? Which book, and why did you decide to give it a try?