Customer Reviews for

Garden Spells

Average Rating 4.5
( 2543 )
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(1311)

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(298)

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(68)

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(81)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

25 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

ENCHANTING!

Garden Spells is the story of four Waverley women, Evanelle, Claire, Sydney, and Bay, as they learn to be comfortable with their special gifts. The Waverley women have always been considered odd, with their powers, and the very strange tree which grows in their garden. ...
Garden Spells is the story of four Waverley women, Evanelle, Claire, Sydney, and Bay, as they learn to be comfortable with their special gifts. The Waverley women have always been considered odd, with their powers, and the very strange tree which grows in their garden.

The strong characters pull the reader in quickly with the feeling that magic is alive and well and not strange. Full of humor and intense feelings, this is a beautifully written novel that's going to linger in the readers psyche for some time.

posted by poosie on March 6, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Good writing, but the plot is a rip off

I was very excited to read this book, and heard wonderful reviews, and then I read it. And the whole time I was reading it it sounded just like a certain movie which happens to be one of my favorites... And suddenly Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were the main charac...
I was very excited to read this book, and heard wonderful reviews, and then I read it. And the whole time I was reading it it sounded just like a certain movie which happens to be one of my favorites... And suddenly Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were the main characters! The story and characters are such a cheap rip off of the move Practical Magic it isn't even funny. Two sisters born into a family who is "different" and known for witchcraft. And resented for it. One sister leaves to escape her past, the other stays and starts selling magical herbs. They live in a weird old house in a small town on the East coast. Need I continue? I couldn't believe how entirely the plot was ripped off from that. This book was published in 2008, and that movie came out years ago, possibly based on a book before that. I don't know at what point copyrights are infringed upon, but this book is just Practical Magic with new names and a different town.

posted by vanillabrite on February 26, 2009

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    ENCHANTING!

    Garden Spells is the story of four Waverley women, Evanelle, Claire, Sydney, and Bay, as they learn to be comfortable with their special gifts. The Waverley women have always been considered odd, with their powers, and the very strange tree which grows in their garden.

    The strong characters pull the reader in quickly with the feeling that magic is alive and well and not strange. Full of humor and intense feelings, this is a beautifully written novel that's going to linger in the readers psyche for some time.

    25 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    MAGICAL

    Magical story with a predictable plot, minimal conflict, some comical antagonists, simplistic characters, an an unbelievable happy ever after: this book has little depth and, on a technical level, not much to offer. In fact, Claire's homeless past and Sydney's abusive boyfriend are almost red herrings, foreshadowing conflicts that never quite arrive. Instead, this book is about self-discovery and love with perfect endings, containing impossible magic. It's set in a small town where the biggest conflict is a foolish family feud. There is no complexity, no hidden meaning or intelligent depth, and readers expecting it will be disappointed.<BR/>Garden Spells is fluff. Accept that the book is little more than escapism, and it actually becomes quite a fun read. There's something enjoyable and uplifting about uncomplicated self-discovery and romance, and the magic--unbelievable as it is--is colorful and entertaining. The conflicts of the small town remain vaguely irritating (and mildly sexist), but they're comical as well. So, while the book is simple and unmemorable, it's pure escapism which is surprisingly fun to read. I wasn't blown away by this book and I'll never reread it, but I enjoyed it much more than I expected I would. Exaggerated as it is, I like the magic. There's something oddly enduring about a playful apple tree with prophetic fruit, or the ability to influence memory or emotion by baking with the right edible flowers. All told, I recommend this book only moderately, and only to the reader looking for a lighthearted bit of escapism. It's a good book to borrow, because it won't stand up to rereads. But if you want simple fantasy and fun with a colorful twist, Garden Spells might be a good choice for an empty afternoon.

    22 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Small town USA has Magic Apples!

    I loved this book. Normally I can't get into a what I think is a romance book, but Garden Spells was more than that. It had a great plot and wonderful sub-plots within the story. I loved the characters. And as I live in a rural small town community, I could so relate to the storyline and characters. I found myself laughing as I recalled those I know in my own little small town to characters with similar traits or bearing within the story. This book tells a story of what it is we call home, why we can't wait to get away from it, and the comfort in the reasons we always want to go back. Home has the magic of family. There is a special magic in small towns, and the town of this story is no different. There is drama, controversy, romance, of course magic and even a little humor (lots of humor if you happen to live in a small town rural area yourself.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2010

    Didn't like it

    This book reminded me of Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. It was bordering on plagarism. All the major plotlines are similar in some way to a major plotline in that book. And Practical Magic was better written.

    10 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2009

    Good writing, but the plot is a rip off

    I was very excited to read this book, and heard wonderful reviews, and then I read it. And the whole time I was reading it it sounded just like a certain movie which happens to be one of my favorites... And suddenly Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were the main characters! The story and characters are such a cheap rip off of the move Practical Magic it isn't even funny. Two sisters born into a family who is "different" and known for witchcraft. And resented for it. One sister leaves to escape her past, the other stays and starts selling magical herbs. They live in a weird old house in a small town on the East coast. Need I continue? I couldn't believe how entirely the plot was ripped off from that. This book was published in 2008, and that movie came out years ago, possibly based on a book before that. I don't know at what point copyrights are infringed upon, but this book is just Practical Magic with new names and a different town.

    10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2008

    Terribly Dissapointing

    Gosh I don't even know where to begin. I bought this book because of the great reviews but I found it to be a very dull read. The storyline is very superficial and her writing is at best mediocre. I only finished it because I have bought it. I would not recommend this to anyone.

    10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2007

    Sounds Familiar

    I'm surprised that this was a recommended book.This story is so similar to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic it's almost like reading a book report about Hoffman's book. It was basically the same story with a few changes but not written nearly as well. As an avid reader I was very disappointed.

    9 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Magical realism at it's best.

    This is Sarah Addison Allen's first novel, and I can see why she was published. As much as I loved The Sugar Queen, I think this might have been a tad better. A bit more delicious, if you will.

    Claire Waverley is a caterer who works with the edible flowers that grow in her mysteriously enchanted garden. Her flowers affect people in different ways, and it's her Waverley talent that she knows them and how to put them into delectable dishes for the best effects. All Waverley's have a talent, which is why the town of Bascom, North Carolina generally tries to avoid socializing with them. But they can't resist Claire's food, and if her older cousin Evanelle gives you a gift? Then you'd best keep it close, you never know when you might need a melon slicer or a couple of quarters.

    Sydney is Claire's estranged sister, whose return to Bascom shakes things up for the quiet town, and disturbs Claire's delicately assembled routine and way of life. Claire is forced to let people in, Sydney and her daughter Bay amongst others; and Sydney is forced to put down roots. All while purple sparks follow the men in love with them, and apples rain down from the ancient apple tree with "issues." Bread toasts itself, thunder clouds signal bad times ahead, and one bite of a piece of fruit can show you the most important event of your life, for better or worse. The are the Waverley's.

    Sarah Addison Allen has created a fabulous story, at times fascinating and magical, but suspenseful as well. We can sense the feelings in the air that unease Claire, we know why Sydney is anxious, and Bay is nervous, and the apple tree shivers. The tension builds to a crescendo and I was squeezing the book wide-eyed and breathless. The ending leaves you happy and satisfied, and it's a good thing for us that her third book is released in March.

    I give Garden Spells 5 stars. It is magical realism at it's best: a dash of a love story, a bit of excitement, a pinch of sensuality, and a flutter of the unexplainable.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put it down!!!

    This book was incredible!! Its been a long time since I have found a great book that I couldn't put down. I downloaded it last week, and the only reason I stopped reading it temporarily was because the battery on my Nook died, and I had homework that I should've been doing, but wasn't because finishing I was reading. I had to force myself not to charge my Nook until my homework was finished - getting to continue reading Garden Spells was my reward :)!!

    It is a very quick read! A wonderful, WONDERFUL story! A perfect summer read!!! I am truly devastated that it's over, the book that is!! I want to reread it again!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved Loved Loved This Book

    Refreshing from beginning to end. Unaware of my surroundings while I read this book. I loved the characters, their personalities, their quirkiness and their love for one another. I was able to cast the characters in my mind with my favorite actresses and actors as I read. I wish I had an Evanelle in my life; or maybe not! The book was the essence of a little Practical Magic and a little Steel Magnolias. Claire and Sydney are both very strong women with an advantage that most women do not have-a little bit of magic in their backyard. If only magic was real to warn us of bad things headed our way or prepare us for what we really want and need most to feel whole inside.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    ENCHANTING! ENJOYED!

    Charming and unique, never a dull moment, this adult fairy tale is the story of Claire and Sydney Waverley, very special sisters who have been estranged for a very long time. It is a special blend of magic without being silly. ENCHANTING! ENJOYED!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2010

    Sparkles with magic.

    Garden Spells is one of my favorite books. I even had to upgrade my paperback for a hardcover. When I read it I can feel the vibrancy of the colors in the story. The magic would literally sparkle across my imagination as I read it. Anyone looking for a book to sweep you away and/or help you believe that maybe things will work themselves out in the end should give Garden Spells a try.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Magical realism at it's best.

    This is Sarah Addison Allen's first novel, and I can see why she was published. As much as I loved The Sugar Queen, I think this might have been a tad better. A bit more delicious, if you will.

    Claire Waverley is a caterer who works with the edible flowers that grow in her mysteriously enchanted garden. Her flowers affect people in different ways, and it's her Waverley talent that she knows them and how to put them into delectable dishes for the best effects. All Waverley's have a talent, which is why the town of Bascom, North Carolina generally tries to avoid socializing with them. But they can't resist Claire's food, and if her older cousin Evanelle gives you a gift? Then you'd best keep it close, you never know when you might need a melon slicer or a couple of quarters.

    Sydney is Claire's estranged sister, whose return to Bascom shakes things up for the quiet town, and disturbs Claire's delicately assembled routine and way of life. Claire is forced to let people in, Sydney and her daughter Bay amongst others; and Sydney is forced to put down roots. All while purple sparks follow the men in love with them, and apples rain down from the ancient apple tree with "issues." Bread toasts itself, thunder clouds signal bad times ahead, and one bite of a piece of fruit can show you the most important event of your life, for better or worse. The are the Waverley's.

    Sarah Addison Allen has created a fabulous story, at times fascinating and magical, but suspenseful as well. We can sense the feelings in the air that unease Claire, we know why Sydney is anxious, and Bay is nervous, and the apple tree shivers. The tension builds to a crescendo and I was squeezing the book wide-eyed and breathless. The ending leaves you happy and satisfied, and it's a good thing for us that her third book is released in March.

    I give Garden Spells 5 stars. It is magical realism at it's best: a dash of a love story, a bit of excitement, a pinch of sensuality, and a flutter of the unexplainable.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    Magical turned Awful!

    I was so disappointed in this book. I bought it after reading all of the reviews about it. Also Barnes and Noble listed it as a recommended book. It started off magical but then went off the track and never seemed to get back on. I totally wasted my time and I cannot figure out what the hype is all about. I was actually shocked that Barnes and Noble listed this as one of their recommended books. There are so many others that are better.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    My favorite book.

    Touching and captivating. Draws you in and does not let go. I have read this book numerous times. Sometimes I read it in one sitting and sometimes I make it last a few days so I get to stay in Allen's world just a bit longer. Beautiful story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Garden Spells

    I loved this book! It is excellent reading, good story and whimsical in its own way. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat. I can't wait to read her next book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    Enchanting

    This book was absolutely fabulous! I bought it because it was on the Barnes and Noble suggested reading list. I had a really hard time putting it down. I found myself drawn into the lives of the characters. It was interesting to see a witching family with different abilities besides just spells and chants!

    I can't wait to read more from this fascinating author!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2007

    Sleeping Potion

    I'm sorry, but this read was exceedingly below expectations and succeeded in doing little more than boring me to sleep. There is nothing here that has not been said before, and better.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Charming!

    The characters are elegantly complex and endearing. I found myself wishing heavily that I were Southern. Highly recommend this book!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't bother . . .

    After reading reviews and description I was looking forward to a nice little read, but was disappointed in the first few pages. A third grade kid could write a report on "The Life of a Doorknob" and interest me more and write in a much more literate manner. The writing technique in this book is childish and on a par with my old first grade reading book, "Look Jane. See Spot Jump!"

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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