Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Another magical book from Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper takes place in Walls of Water, North Carolina. Willa Jackson, runs a combination coffee bar and organic sporting goods shop that caters to hikers and campers about to venture up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her chocolate-coffee snacks, like oatmeal cookies with coffee icing, espresso brownies, and chocolate covered coffee beans are particular favorites.

Willa’s great-great grandfather built a beautiful antebellum mansion, known as The Blue Ridge Madame, as a gift for his young bride, but, after years of scandal and misfortune that cost the family their wealth and prominent place as the town’s first family, it has fallen into ruin. Now Willa’s wealthy socialite classmate, Paxton Osgood, has taken on the task of restoring it as an elite bed and breakfast and banquet hall despite problems of her own—she still lives at home with her parents and is in love with a man who might be gay. During the restoration, a man’s skeleton, an old fedora, a rusty frying pan, a suitcase, and a newspaper from 1936 are found buried beneath a peach tree. These are all that remain of the charismatic con man Tucker Devlin who visited the area selling ladies cosmetics and wrecking lives.

Odd things begin to happen and there’s more than a hint of romance and magic in the air as long buried secrets emerge. I’ve read all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books to date, and I think this is my favorite so far.

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