Katie Leigh Reads: Sarah Addison Allen

May 15, 2020
Sun shining through the window onto open books

I should have been from the South.

I don’t know what it is about Southern charm that captivates me so, but I’m obsessed. So much so, that I’m driving my husband mad in quarantine as I make him watch all the Reese Witherspoon movies I can get a hold of. I dream of nights at neighbor’s houses, making fresh lemonade in the hot summer, listening to country music on the patio, and hosting parties with beautifully designed paper invitations and a table decorated for a wedding.

I’m very aware that my homemade and friendly southern accents’ ideas of the South is romanticized. Seeing as I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to the South, I know that I have no real understanding of it. I have movies and books that present the 1950’s old school thoughts of the South, and I dream of living there (anti-feminist and racist ideals not included).

It’s no wonder then that I’ve re-read almost all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books while at home these last few months. Novels that always take place in North Carolina with magical realism seeping from the pages and Southern charm whetting my appetite. Each one of her books transports you to a little town out in the country with people who have lived there their whole lives. The characters grow on each other, the rooms magically change their wallpaper based on the room owner’s emotions or flowers change the way people feel when they eat them. There’s a sweet old lady who always needs to give someone something and that something will be desperately needed in the near future. There’s finding one’s self, losing one’s thoughts of how things happened and lots of falling in love.

Essentially these books are Southern Hallmark movies with better plots and better magic. They’ll leave you feeling good through your bones and dreaming of magical nights out in the hot sticky nights of South Carolina where I’m pretty sure I need to live now.

You can grab these books on your kindle from the library but I suggest purchasing them to have on your shelves and to lend out to friends when they need some magic in their lives. And there will come a day when you too will need more magic in your life and you can head back to these small South Carolina towns that Sarah Addison Allen writes about and fall in love all over again.

Lost Lake, The Girl that Chased The Moon, Garden Spells and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Recommended Books To Start With:

The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Magical wallpaper, baking that can bring back the greatest love of your life, mysterious magical lights that dance through the woods, and a relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter that will bring you to tears. This is my favorite book to give to friends as gifts and to come back to again and again.

Garden Spells
An old lady who has to give people random objects that they’ll soon need in their lives. Whether that’s to keep them from having a bad day or to save their life. A woman who cooks with flowers and makes those who eat your recipes feel new things. And a woman who’s running away from her past, an abusive husband and a reckless youth, to build a new life for her and her daughter. Find it here.