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3.75 starsI loved Garden Spells , so I decided to give another of Sarah Addison Allen s books a go There s the same lush storytelling with hints of magic that are just subtle enough to be believable The Sugar Queen touches on many fairy tale elements while staying grounded in reality Please note this is not a fairy tale retelling, it just has some faint yet recognizable allusions view spoiler What didn t work for me was the whole ghost story element And the hey, we re all sisters thing was a bit too convenient and twee for me hide spoiler , , , , , hangover, ,, , ,,, , , , My lovely book gifting mother gave me a nice, healthy stack of books for Christmas and among them was THE SUGAR QUEEN I read and loved Sarah Addison Allen s first novel, Garden Spells, last year on the recommendation of my good friend Michelle Incidentally, I actually gave my mom Garden Spells for Christmas so there was some fun karmic reciprocity goin on there Garden Spells was the perfect autumn read and I finished it itching to get my hands on Allen s second book, which, as it turns out, is the perfect winter read I love it when my book and the season serendipitously mesh Set in a small ski resort town in North Carolina with magical snowflakes falling and the smell of peppermint in the air, I had no interest in resisting its spell I just sat back and let THE SUGAR QUEEN carry me away for a couple of wintry nights.Josey Cirrini loves candy And I mean Josey LOVES candy Sweets, snacks, baked goods of any kind She keeps them in a stash in her closet and retreats there whenever she s feeling particularly anxious or down Which is pretty much every day, several times a day You see Josey lives alone with her aging, patrician mother in their aging, empty mansion And every day her mother reminds her how plain she is, how she should never wear anything but black or white but for the love of all that is holy no RED, and how she was such a trying child and should spend the rest of her life making it up to her poor, beautiful, widowed mother Gah The only bright spot in her day is the moment when their mailman Adam walks up to her door to deliver the mail Then there s Chloe Lovely, orphaned, loves to read, lost in love Chloe She runs a small fast food stand in the local city courthouse lobby, lives with her lawyer boyfriend Jake, and dreams of owning her own home one day after having had to sell the only home she d ever known when her grandparents passed away Neither of these girls sees her life changing anytime soon But on one fateful day a local tramp shows up in Josey s closet and Chloe discovers her boyfriend cheated on her but won t tell her with whom And, just like that, everything changes.Like its predecessor, THE SUGAR QUEEN is one part magical realism, one part fairy tale, and one part contemporary fiction And like before, I fell immediately under its spell I don t know if I was just in the mood for something pretty and sweet and romantic in the dead of winter, or if there s something about Allen s kind, honest characters that speaks to me, but I absolutely loved this book Possibly eventhan Garden Spells, I think, because I liked Josey so much With her unselfconscious awesomeness, her straightforward goodness, she was vulnerable but never beaten The slow, pleasantly deceit free way she and Adam negotiated their relationship was delightful to me And Josey and Chloe s friendship, in particular, was extremely well done I love how helping and being needed by Chloe makes Josey brave How Chloe recognized Josey for what she was and took her in even when she was the one who was slowly but surely drowning In a Sarah Addison Allen book, you can always count on a little organic magic and my favorite instance of this in THE SUGAR QUEEN was undoubtedly the way books literally popped up around Chloe whenever she needed them For example She could remember very clearly the first time it happened to her Being an only child raised by her great grandparents on a farm miles from town, she was bored a lot When she ran out of books to read, it only got worse She was walking by the creek along the wood line at the end of the property one day when she was twelve, feeling mopey and frustrated, when she saw a book propped up against a willow tree She walked over and picked it up It was so new the spine creaked and popped when she opened it It was a book on card tricks, full of fun things she could do with the deck of cards her great grandmother kept in a drawer in the kitchen for her weekly canasta game She called out, asking if anyone was there No one answered She didn t see any harm in looking through the book, so she sat under the tree by the creek and read as much as she could before it got dark She wanted to take it with her when her great grandmother called her home, but she knew she couldn t The owner of the book would surely want it back So she reluctantly left it by the tree and ran home, trying to commit to memory everything she d read After dinner, Chloe took the deck of cards out of the kitchen drawer and went to her bedroom to try some of the tricks She tried for awhile, but she couldn t get them right without following the pictures in the book She sighed and gathered the cards she d spread out on the floor She stood, and that s when she saw the book, the same book she d left by the creek, on her nightstand For awhile after that, she thought her great grandparents were surprising her with books She d find them on her bed, in her closet, in her favorite hideouts around the property And they were always books she needed Books on games or novels of adventure when she was bored Books about growing up as she got older But when her great grandparents confronted her about all the books she had and where did she get the money to buy them, she realized they weren t the ones doing it The next day, under her pillow, she found a book on clever storage solutions It was exactly what she needed, something to show her how to hide her books She accepted it from then on Books liked her Books wanted to look after her.You can imagine the smile of contentment on my face after I read that passage It was clear this book and I would get on well And we did I absolutely loved it And you can bet I will be picking up Ms Allen s upcoming third novel, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, the day it comes out. While this is a good read, its storyline is too pat, its conclusion to easy, and its writing too forgettable to earnthan three stars Would I read it again Probably not Would I want to reread parts of it years from now Possibly Would I read a sequel Quite probably You can draw your own conclusions from that Our heroine struggles with self perception and a lack of self esteem Josey is supposed to be a Southern belleliving in a ski resort town in the mountains of North Carolina She suffers from a domineering mother who for personal reasons really doesn t like her, an unbelievable amount of guilt for tantrums thrown before she became a saint at the ripe old age of nine, a town of busybodies who all remember the tantrums perhaps I should have reserved unbelievable for this portion of the plot , and isolation resulting from all of the above The point of The Sugar Queen is how Josey resolves all of these issues with the help of her polar opposite who shows up unexpectedly in her closet at the beginning of chapter 1 At the same time, various other people affiliated in some way with Josey or her family are going through their own, somehow completely related, problems The book also contains a smattering of magic, which seems to have been included for no other reason than to help the reader suspend disbelief throughout a string of improbable events Once you ve suspended disbelief, it is possible to enjoy the book in all of it s feel good splendor At it s heart, that s all this book is, a feel good novel A sad woman and we know she s sad because at least four different people show up to say so and then disappear from the plot finds happiness and love, a true love is saved, family problems are resolved, and death is established as an okay place.If you have some extra time, like feel good novels and I personally do , and desire to learn a little about self perception and a lot about why to not live your entire life in the same small town, you should give this book a chance [ Free E-pub ] ☾ The Sugar Queen ☩ In This Irresistible Novel, Sarah Addison Allen, Author Of The New York Times Bestselling Debut, Garden Spells, Tells The Tale Of A Young Woman Whose Family Secrets And Secret Passions Are About To Change Her Life ForeverJosey Cirrini Is Sure Of Three Things Winter Is Her Favorite Season, She S A Sorry Excuse For A Southern Belle, And Sweets Are Best Eaten In The Privacy Of Her Closet For While Josey Has Settled Into An Uneventful Life In Her Mother S House, Her One Consolation Is The Stockpile Of Sugary Treats And Paperback Romances She Escapes To Each Night Until She Finds Her Closet Harboring Della Lee Baker, A Local Waitress Who Is One Part Nemesis And Two Parts Fairy Godmother With Della Lee S Tough Love, Josey S Narrow Existence Quickly Expands She Even Bonds With Chloe Finley, A Young Woman Who Is Hounded By Books That Inexplicably Appear When She Needs Them And Who Has A Close Connection To Josey S Longtime Crush Soon Josey Is Living In A World Where The Color Red Has Startling Powers, And Passion Can Make Eggs Fry In Their Cartons And That S Just For StartersBrimming With Warmth, Wit, And A Sprinkling Of Magic, Here Is A Spellbinding Tale Of Friendship, Love And The Enchanting Possibilities Of Every New Day
3.5 I thought this book was a cute, easy read especially for the winter holidays Her writing reminds me of Hoffman A story filled with magic and romance and sadness I like that her characters are in a tough spot but they persevere to come out better people This book ended with a surprise ending, kinda creepy for the superstitious in us all WowAnother magical novel by Sarah Addison Allen Beautifully written Much like her debut novel Garden Spells, this book contains a blend of interesting food and magic realism Josey Cirrini is a chubby, shy recluse who lives with her overbearing mother She consoles herself with junk food and romance novels that she keeps hidden in her closet One day her boring life is turned upside down when she discovers local bad girl, Della Lee, hiding in her closet Desperate to be rid of Della Lee, Josey makes certain promises that lead her on a journey to self discovery An unexpected romance with the mailman, a new friendship and answers to questions about her past follow.I cannot say enough how much I enjoy this author s unique writing style Each chapter is cleverly named after Josey s favorite sweets and reflects on the various plot themes Just check out this quoteBooks can be possessive, can t they You re walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention Sometimes what s inside will change your life, but sometimes you don t even have to read it Sometimes it s a comfort just to have a book around Many of these books haven t even had their spines cracked Why do you buy books you don t even read our daughter asks us That s like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat For company, of course Now who here on Goodreads can t identify with that Highly recommended Have you ever finished a whole plate of chocolate cake while binge watching Revenge to fill the emptiness of your nights If you have, then this book is for you.Have you ever broken down because you didn t know how to function alone any If you have, then this book is for you.Have you ever squatted in a stranger s closet If you have, then this book is for you.This is not my usual fare, but I was in the mood for something light, fluffy and sweet, like Meringue I didn t get the Meringue, but I got The Sugar Queen and it just hit my sweet spot The Sugar Queen is about three women from a resort town going through a quarter life crisis quarter life crisis is real They unexpectedly find each other and themselves in the process I liked the characters in this book, they feel authentic, especially, Josey She s a shy, twenty seven year old woman who lives as her mother s PA She dreams of travelling, but her perceived obligations to her mother hold her back, so she gorges on clandestine sweets and pastries for comfort, until she finds Della Lee Della Lee and Chloe were colorfully written as well, but Josey is the star Overall, The Sugar Queen is a pleasant read, a good, relaxing option while in between readingintricate novels This is my first book from the author, and it certainly won t be the last. This is my third book of this author It s chick lit, with a mystery thrown in Many love interests some romantic and others scandalous a little bit of magic and a few secrets to dolly things up Southern snobishness with old family histories and a good plot A chicken for the soul read for those who need something light and entertaining And I enjoyed the late and great Marco Cirrini, the old goat He made sure he ownedthan just the town At least he brought some color into the tale Yes, he knew how to paint the town of Bald Slopes RED When money talk, secrets walk.I needed this palate cleanser Oh, and I really appreciate this author s original titles Always good. You know how when you are not feeling well you are told to each chicken soup Well, this is my chicken soup I love reading books by Sarah Addison Allen, they are comforting, and in an odd way, familiar Yes, its not as good as Garden Spells, but this one is different Allen s books have magical realism, southern traditions, quirky characters.what s not to love This book tells the story of lonely, isolated Josey and the other people who come into her life from town, and how she changes over time I thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to readingbooks by Allen.