We are supposed to be at the beginning of autumn in Australia at the moment but we have been experiencing some gorgeous summer weather instead so I took the opportunity to take my first book for the Once Upon A Time Challenge, Garden Spells, out into our garden this weekend.
Garden Spells in set in a small US town, Bascom, North Carolina where the community is clearly divided into types of families. The Waverley family is known as the "strange" family of the town - they have a weird apple tree in their back garden that produces fruit that when eaten brings on visions, they use the flowers in their garden to create food that enables spells to be performed on the individual who eats it and they have a "crazy" cousin who is compelled to give strange gifts to people in the town.
The two adult Waverley sisters, Claire and Sydney couldn't be more different on the surface. Claire has stayed on in Bascom to create a thriving business - haunted by an early unstable childhood before her sister was born and Sydney has recently returned to Bascom with her young daughter in an attempt to escape a violent relationship. The book focuses on the sister's attempts to heal their damaged relationship as well as the creation of other relationships in their lives.
I really felt that this book was not much more than a "sweet" story. I found the stereotypical descriptions of the different families and individual characters frustrating and predictable. Surprisingly enough it was actually the "fantasy" or magical elements of the story that I was able to get board with easily - it was a shame the human elements didn't uphold their part of the story. I'm not put off by the genre as a whole though - I'm keen to read more - I just need to look in a slightly different direction I think.