Claire, a Waverley and a professional caterer, prepares meals for her clients using ingredients from her unique plants. Some of the plants she uses in her dishes have the power to encourage compliments, promote love, and conceal secrets, among many other things. She lives in the famous Waverley house. Her grandmother, now deceased, left the house to Claire. She also has an elderly cousin named Evanelle who is a Waverley and lives in Bascom. Evanelle has a unique gift also. At random, she delivers presents unexpectedly to a person at the right time when they need it most. The town folk are used to Evanelle's eccentric ways and expect her presents. Claire has received many of her gifts over the years and they all came in handy at just the right time.
The only other surviving family member is Claire's sister who left ten years ago to follow her own path in life. Sydney didn't want anything to do with her roots. She wanted to be normal like the people in town so that she fit in with their lifestyle. Their mother abandoned both of them years ago when they were little. She left Claire and Sydney to be raised by their Grandmother.
When Claire enters the garden in the back yard, she discovers that the old apple tree just threw some apples again. Claire realizes something is going to happen but doesn't know what. Without warning, Sydney shows up on her doorstep with a small daughter of her own. Claire wonders where her sister has been since she never stayed in contact with Sydney. Claire's complacent, routine filled life will never be the same again.
As both sisters forge ahead in the matters of the heart and family ties, they discover many surprising things about one another. When a new neighbor moves in next door, will Claire's life ever be normal again? Will Sydney ever reveal her past ten years on the run to Claire? What surprises are in store for Claire, Sydney, and Evanelle?
GARDEN SPELLS is a brilliant novel - rich in folklore, and a bone-deep examination of inner lives and the bonds between family members. Claire has tenderly built a barrier around her heart after being deserted by her mother many years ago. When her sister, Sydney, unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep, with a small daughter in tow, it opens a whole tidal wave of emotions in Claire's heart. The remarkable story of how the two sisters come to deal with their feelings for one another is very touching. I was overwhelmed with emotion at the compassion the two sisters have for one another while working out their differences. The whole dynamic in Claire's life changes after she gets a new next door neighbor. It was interesting to see how Claire deals with her emotions while deciding whether to let this person in her life or not. Sarah Addison Allen has written an intelligent novel full of insightful passages of the heart. She delivers a smart and loving story full of hope. This tale will make readers believe in love in all its permutations. Rush out and buy this enchanting book!