The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: Magical realism, chick-lit, fiction, Southern fiction, small-town lit
The plots of Sarah Addison’s Allen’s books sound so beautiful, so magical, that I cannot help but pick them up, even though I haven’t been impressed by several of them. So far, I have liked just one of her books out of the many I have read. My most recent read by this author was The Peach Keeper, yet another read that I didn’t particularly like.
The Peach Keeper, like the author’s other books, has an interesting premise. Willa Jackson, the primary character in the book, is living a ‘settled’ life in southern America, running a camping goods store. Paxton Osgood, the other primary character of the book, has a life that many would envy – she is beautiful, always well-mannered and presentable, and belongs to a rich family to boot. The book is about how these two characters, Willa and Paxton, are brought face-to-face after years of never having talked, after having studied together in high school. There are other elements to the story too – a heritage bungalow in town that is being converted into a hotel, a grand gala in the happening, Paxton’s eccentric grandmother, Willa’s grandmother who has all but lost her memory, a cafe, a small-town setting, and a quirky barista.
There are a lot of things happening in the story, at the same time, but nothing seems to have been explored by the author in depth. Everything is touched upon in a very light, frivolous way. All of the book, in fact, reads like a piece of fluff, with no meaning at all, none of the characters really getting under your skin. The characters seem to be revolving around their old high-school selves, measuring up the other characters by their high-school selves, too, though it has actually been decades since they left high school! That felt, kind of, silly, really. The storyline, the book itself, seems rather forced rather than having flowed naturally from the author’s pen.
There’s nothing to indicate why the book got the name ‘The Peach Keeper‘ till the very end. Then too, there are just a few lines to explain it, as if it were an afterthought.
Overall, this is not a book that I enjoyed reading. It sorely lacks the bits and pieces of brilliant characterisation and beautiful story moments that I know the author is capable of.
Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland
Genre: Bookish fiction, fiction, chick-lit, small-town lit
I got a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book isn’t out yet – it will be on the stands later this year.
Lost For Words is the story of Loveday, a young woman who, on the surface, seems to have the life that all book lovers long for. She works in a bookshop, has a somewhat flexible schedule and an adorable boss, gets allowances to buy books, and has the time to read all the books she wants to. It goes without saying that Loveday loves books. Why, she even has tattoos of the first lines of some books! As the story progresses, we get to know Loveday a little bit better. We get to know why she is the recluse that she is, and why she isn’t comfortable with people.
With a premise like that, how could I resist choosing Lost For Words for review?! I did like the book, but I didn’t fall in love with it the way I had thought I would. The first half of the book is superb – it drew me in, captivated me, had me hooked to it. I was drawn into Loveday’s world, and was so deep into it that my family would have to tap me on the shoulder and gently tell me that it was time for lunch or to go to bed… The language was beautiful, the prose flowed in a lovely way, in the first half. After Loveday’s big secret is revealed, though, almost 50% into the book, the story, the language, everything seemed to go downhill for me. Then, the book began to resemble a melodramatic TV show and Loveday began to look far, far away from the brilliant recluse that she was in the first half of the story. Things begin to progress rather abruptly in the second half – after the rather laid-back scheme of things in the beginning. Things seemed to tie up way too neatly for my liking, in the end.
The book made me think a whole lot, and was, in a lot of ways, an enlightening read for me. For that, I am glad I read the book. I just wish I had been able to love the second half of it, just as much as I loved the first half.
I would still recommend the book to you, for the beauty that part of it is.
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts about it?
What are you reading at the moment?