In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world—no matter how out of place they feel.Today I bring you a buddy review with Marg from Reading Adventures. We haven't done one together in like three years! You have to visit her blog to read the first part of the review, and then I have the second half here. She is the white text and I am the blue. Enjoy!
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Such as, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? And why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.
Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes—which is a good thing, because Julia can’t seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar . . . Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she’s hurt in the past?
Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
I liked the magical elements. That's why I read the books by her. If they weren't in there it would still be a nice story, but I probably wouldn't like it. Sometimes teenagers as main characters can annoy me, but Emily was mature enough that she didn't bother me all that much. I agree that the wallpaper didn't really add anything to the story, but I still thought it was kind of cool. It was Emily's first taste of things not being entirely what they seemed in the town. The only thing that bothered me was the Coffey families' secret. When it was abstract, it was kind of cool, but when it got explained it didn't hold the same magic for me. There were a couple times when I thought it was a bit far-fetched and I couldn't dispel disbelief, but it wasn't enough to ruin the story. I also loved Emily's grandfather and Julia. They were both great characters that added to the story.
As to your second question, that's a hard one. I am surprised I never thought about it before when reading her books. I just think how nice it would be to have one of the talents mentioned, but I guess I never think outside the box. I keep thinking about Chloe and how books appeared to her. I think that's really mine. Even if it isn't original.
I think it must be the book lover in each of us, because I would be more than happy if my talent was that the perfect book that I was in the mood for would just appear in my hands when I was ready to start reading. No more standing in front of the shelves to see what book yells at me the loudest, or at the library due dates to see what is due next, or the next review book due! Although in a way,that kind of happened with this book. I had picked up all the books that I had on hold at the library, and I was just dropping some more off when I noticed that this one was waiting to be picked up, so I took it away with me on vacation, not necessarily intending to read it as I had a few others with me, but this book was the perfect vacation read!
This is also the kind of book that I think you can easily recommend to other people regardless of whether they are normally fantasy readers or not, because the author writes very accessible fantasy, or magical realism if you would rather classify it that way!
Well, I had no intention of reading this book, either. I got it when it first came out, but there were a few more priorities that had to be dealt with first. Then, earlier today I found myself picking it up and reading it. I am very glad that I did, though, because this was another great book by her. Like I said above, when I first saw mention of her books, my first instinct was that they were romance-type novels. It turned out, though, that they are a nice mix of the ordinary and the slightly unordinary.
Did you read it pretty much in one sitting? I started it at about 11pm and finished it at 2am. It certainly had that unputdownable quality for me!
Yeah, I read the first 200 pages in one sitting and then I had to stop to do a couple things, but I sat down and read the rest all at one time. I only started the book today, so it was a quick read for me. While this book has a nice magic realism feel to it, it is still set in a modern, Southern world. Did you think the author pulled off the setting well? I also can't help mentioning the romances. There is always something brewing in that department for her books, so I expected they would play a role. Did you think they were believable and turned out the way they should?
I don't know that I think that these books are set in a modern, Southern world. I would more say that they are set in a timeless Southern world. There are mentions of things that give the story a time frame, like the car in the garage, but for the most part, the portrayal could be now, or it could be twenty or thirty years ago or more. The idea of spending time at the local lake partying, and walking to the local barbecue restaurant for breakfast every morning help portray a much slower way of life than I can imagine as I stuff a protein bar into my mouth for breakfast as I rush out the door every morning.
Whilst there are many areas of our reading where you and I do agree, romance is one of the areas where we don't! Romance is something that can turn Kelly off, whereas I read and love a lot of romance! There are happily ever afters that are telegraphed from very early in each of the author's books, so you know where you are going to end up, but it is part of the joy of reading these books that you can enjoy the journey with the characters. I am not as convinced with Emily's romance, but for Julia and her beau, I was absolutely a believer in the fact that they were destined to be together, and that every thing that they had been through would absolutely make them much stronger in the future. The final scene probably tied up the loose ends a bit too neatly, but I can live with that.
I liked the quaintness of the town. I grew up in a small town, too, but it wasn't really like this one. Even though it seemed small, though, it had a lot of personality that I quite enjoyed. You are right on the romance aspect, though. I do think they were a bit predictable, but that's okay. It didn't really ruin anything for me by being that way. The couples in the book, I mean. Overall it was an enjoyable read that is the perfect sort of comfort read. You can't help feeling warm and fuzzy after reading it (and, yes, I really did just say that!). I am glad that I read it and I am glad that we finally found a book to review together!
Aww...warm and fuzzy! Just like doing a joint review with Kelly! We should do this more often! LOL!
This book counts for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, which means I am done! Yay!