The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Published: March 22, 2011
Genre: chick lit
Hardcover: 273 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads.com): It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots. But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town. Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
My Thoughts: This is a nice, simple book about two women who come together over their grandmonther's friendship 75 years. Following Willa and Paxton, living in Walls of Water, North Carolina, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of how women must be there for one another, and also, how we must discover what it is that we need as individuals. These women are different from one another but over the course of the story, each realizes that this is not the life that she wants to live. They both realize that things must change, and they start to make these realizations as their friendship blossoms. I really enjoyed Allen's focus on finding what it is that we need to do. She explotes this through the Willa and Paxton, and also through their boyfriends, Colin and Sebastian. Each character is stuggling with finding their place in life and their place in the world. They also struggle with their former selves, as in how people thought of them in high school. Allen does a great job of exploring these topics and making the reader think, "Do we ever really grow up and change?"
While I did enjoy the themes of the book, it felt like the whole book was on fast-forward. Everything happened so quickly, it seemed like it was flashing by. I wish that Allen had taken a little more time to develop the story, especially that historical element. I felt like it could have been a great story if she had developed that background story a little more. It wasn't a bad book, but I was left wanting more. I will definitely check out more of Allen's work, because I really did enjoy her writing style. Has anyone else read this book and thought that same thing?
(read as part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge)