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THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen: Book 23 of 2011 [BOOK WEEK]

If you’ve been keeping up with my book reports, you already know what a big Sarah Addison Allen fan I am. I read and loved her debut, GARDEN SPELLS, and have read and loved every book she’s written since. So here are my thoughts on her latest, THE PEACH KEEPER.

What’s It About: The granddaughters of two best friends come together when a mystery surrounding their grandmothers comes to light.

What Makes It Different: Lots of southern magical realism. And I’ve seen a male protagonist, like one of the ones in this book one other time. Sorry, to be so vague, but you know, spoilers.

What I Loved: I love the way that Allen writes southern women and southern men and how she makes her settings such a part of the book. And I really, really, really loved the male protagonist referenced above. It made the book instantly interesting, and it was so refreshing to see an issue that comes up in real life addressed with kindness and respect in fiction.

What I Didn’t Like: This is what I always say about the Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters always seem to write the same song with just a few minor changes to distinguish each, but I don’t mind, because I really, really like that song. With this book, Sarah Addison Allen became the literary equivalent of the Foo Fighters for me. Though, I would like a song change, I will happily read her next book. Also, I thought the grandmothers were given short shrift. I would have loved to have seen their story weaved throughout the entire book as opposed to visited at the end. And the narrator gave such a grandmotherly read, that I wished I had read the physical book as opposed to listening to the audio version.

Writing Lessons Learned

Stand up for yourself. There is something so delicious about a plotline where a character is getting bullied and she finally learns to stand up for herself. I could seriously read that story over and over again and I think it’s one that most readers find endlessly fascinating.

Location, location, location. Allen’s in love with location in a really special way and that love informs all of her novels. Reading PEACH KEEPER made me think harder about my own locations and how I could breathe more life into them. An especially timely lesson as I work on my third novel, which is mostly set in my hometown of St. Louis. (From The Lou and I’m Proud!)

An ample protagonist. I’m a big fan of female protagonists with ample proportions. One of Allen’s protagonists is a big woman who swims every day and doesn’t lose the weight to get the guy. Yay, Team Exactly As You Are!

To Whom Would I Recommend This Book: Southerners With Sass, People With Awful Grandmothers, and Anyone Who Loved PRACTICAL MAGIC by Alice Hoffman As Much As I Did.

Click on the book cover to buy THE PEACH KEEPER at Amazon!