Saturday, April 14, 2012
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Sarah Addison Allen writes what some refer to as magical realism, though in The Peach Keeper there is only a hint of magic. It centers around two women: Willa Jackson and Paxton Osgood. Willa's family use to be one of the wealthiest families in Walls of Water, but the family lost its money and the family home, known as the Blue Ridge Madam, two generations earlier. As a teenager Willa was something of a wild child. At age 30 she's a small business, living a quiet life and seemingly afraid to take any risks ever again. Paxton Osgood hails from another wealthy family. In high school she was the princess. At age 30 she is a socialite living in her parents' pool house, still trying to play the role of the perfect princess. As the book opens Paxton has bought and restored the Blue Ridge Madam to its former glory, and in the process unearths a few skeletons, figuratively and literally. There's romance and a bit of a mystery, but The Peach Keeper transcends both of those generes. It is about friendship and accepting who you are. Both Willa and Paxton are stuck, unable to move forward in their lives until a combination of events gives them a jolt, and overtime they learn a lot about themselves.
This is the fourth novel of Ms. Allen's that I've read. She also wrote Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen (my favorite of Allen's novels), and The Girl Who Chased the Moon. She has become an author whose work I look for, and I am eagerly awaiting her next novel which I hear will be out in 2013.