Tag: goodreads:reviews

[Review] – The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Posted 5 April, 2011 by DLWhite in Reviews, Writers Read 3 Comments

The Peach Keeper Book Cover The Peach Keeper
Sarah Addison Allen
Bantam Dell Publishing Group

Returning to the hometown of her youth after a failed marriage, Willa struggles to find her place in a community where she no longer feels like she belongs, uncovers a 60-year family feud and falls for a strangely secretive man. (This title is being re-listed in Forecast.) By the author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon.


This is my second book by Sarah Addison Allen and I really enjoyed it. I’m a reader of pretty heavy material, so every once in awhile, I like to clear my palate with some lighter fare and Ms Allen always delivers a fun, indulgent read laced with sweetness and a little bit of magic.

Willa Jackson, Colin and Paxton Osgood, and Sebastian Rogers all went to high school together and all but Paxton (who never left) returned years later, completely changed people. The story centers around a Gala, a formal party to celebrate the re-opening of the Blue Ridge Madam, led by Paxton and the Women’s Society. Just as the Madam is about to open,a skeleton is found, tying Willa, Colin and Paxton together via their ancestors and a well kept secret.

The Peach Keeper is more than a story about a magical man who smelled of peaches and once held an entire town under his spell, and who suddenly and mysteriously disappeared… and then reappeared as a skeleton just as Walls of Water’s premiere luxury hotel was to reopen. It is a story of regrets, of self reinvention, of resistance to change and letting go of fears, and most of all of being true to oneself.

There was a lot less magic in this book than in The Girl Who Chased the Moon— I really expected more and perhaps the story could have benefited from it, but I also felt the story was full– each character had a purpose for being in the book and each character lived up to his or her potential. I especially enjoyed the scandal between Tucker, Agatha (Paxton and Colin Osgood’s grandmother), and Georgie (Willa Jackson’s grandmother. I wanted there to be a bit more detail about covering up the secret and what it had taken to keep it quiet.

And I’ll say this, because romances in books, by definition are unrealistic, but the romantic connections, to me, seem to be a stretch. Too pat and perfect and… unrealistic. I guess I am hard to please, and these relationships needed to form in order to push the story along. I was happy to see some old friendships rekindle, and some begin for the first time. I’m still sort of appalled that people still live in the town where they went to high school.

I gave this book 4 of 5 stars, purely because I enjoyed it so much!

View all my reviews

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen [Review]

Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen [Review]

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen My rating: 2 of 5 stars As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. I started this book on the audio version, at first a bit turned off by the obvious attempt to make the narrator sound aged. On reflection, I simply wasn’t a fan of the narrator, and that, plus an intriguing story line is what makes an audio book interesting for me. I can only listen to a book in the car, so if it can’t block out traffic irritation for me, it isn’t an audio book that’s going to work for me. Not only did the narrator irritate me, but so did traffic. It wasn’t engrossing or distracting at all. By the time I switched to the eBook, interest in this novel was on life support. I’ve found that while I read, I skip a lot. Too much detail? Skim. Boring dialog I don’t care about? Skip. When I’m unable to skip past parts I don’t feel like reading, I feel trapped by the author in the minutiae and I resent that. Once I picked up the eBook, I was able to read more quickly, pick up the story and get to the climax. Water for […]

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom [Review]

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom [Review]

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have to start by saying I LOVED THIS BOOK. I got this as an audio book, a something to listen to that would ease my traffic woes and it WORKED. I can only concentrate on audio books in the car, so it got to where I was making up reasons to leave the house. A trip across the street became a reason to get 10 more minutes in. I savored every bite and morsel I could get, and though it only took me a few days to listen to it all, it felt like this book would never end, and yet I could not stop “reading”. Lavinia, orphaned at 7 years old, has been brought to Tall Oaks Tobacco plantation as an indentured servant. She’s put under the guidance of Belle, Captain Pike’s illegitimate daughter, and Mama Mae, the matriarch of the “family”. Over the years, Belle begins to feel as if Tall Oaks is her home and the servants are her family, even though she is white and they are black. She also doesn’t seem to know the difference between herself and the others and no one feels the need to point it out. Lavinia only learns that she is quite different when she is allowed to go to church and doesn’t understand why her friends the twins must stand at the back of the church while she is allowed to sit up front. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where she finds that all that glitters is not gold. The Captain, though kind to his servants is absent and the mistress falls prey to an addiction. The Captain’s family believe that Belle is the Master’s mistress, not his daughter, so there is tension in the household among Belle and Mrs. Pike. This situation, though not altogether pleasant, is not the nightmare it could be, and of course is too good […]

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova [Review]

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova [Review]

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova My rating: 4 of 5 stars I won’t write a long review for this book. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed it just as much as Still Alice. It was still riveting while be educational and scientifically interesting. I saw some parallels to Still Alice, in that the main characters in both books could be interchangeable. I feel like Genova is almost switching out the life altering debilitating condition and leaving the story mostly intact. That’s not to take away from the story at all. I still enjoyed its complex simplicity and the style in which it was written. View all my reviews

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W Durrow [Review]

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W Durrow [Review]

Rachel Morse is the soul survivor of a horrific tragedy, brought from Chicago, IL to live with her grandmother and aunt in Portland Oregon. Rachel creates within her self a “new girl”… the old girl is gone, dead with the rest of her family. This new girl struggles to navigate a different life in Portland. Back home, her parents – a white German woman and a black soldier, never told her she was black. They never prepared her for a world where her kinky, curly hair and bright blue eyes would land her smack in the middle of two races, able to identify with neither.

Columbine by Dave Cullen [Review]

Columbine by Dave Cullen [Review]

Dave Cullen’s Columbine is a circuitous tale through the days leading up to and following the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. I find myself appalled and shocked and saddened at the loss of life and the immense sadness and pain of the families of the Thirteen who died as well as the survivors still fighting for life everyday.

[Review] Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova presents a wonderfully and realistically woven, touching story about Alice Howland. Mother, wife, esteemed Harvard Professor, Research Analyst, Thesis Advisor– all around very important woman, busy and in full control of her life. Slowly, instances begin to pop up that seem strange and disconcerting, but also fleeting. She feels ridiculous even making mention of them until they start happening with more frequency and severity.