By Sarah Addison Allen
A magical, utterly delicious debut that will cast its charm over everyone who loved Chocolat or Fried Green Tomatoes. Bascom, North Carolina is a town where everyone is known for their family's characteristics, passed down through generations. One family's women are good in bed: they always marry well. One family gives birth to a strong man - always called Josiah -
once in a generation (you go to him to help you when you move house). The Waverleys are known for their magic touch: Evanelle, who's lived in Bascom all her life, gives people what they need before they know they need it; Claire, who came to town when she was six and never wants to leave, can turn the plants in her garden into delicious food and drink with spectacular effects on those who consume it; Sydney, who ran away from her home town at 18, hasn't worked out what hers is. When Sydney returns to Bascom with her little girl, in flight from an abusive marriage, she proves a catalyst for change in the lives of all three women.
Allen bewitches with savoury prose and keen insight, leaving me to want more. Think of the very best fairy tale you were ever told; now pick up "Garden Spells" and read one of the best magical stories for adults I have enjoyed in a long time. I rarely pass on my books, but I did this one and the recipients were as delighted and enchanted as I was.