Title: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (Copyright 2007)
The tree behind the Waverly ancestral home, a large Victorian house in North Carolina, throws apples at the people who come near, trying to get them to eat the apples. The apples cause dreams, visions, really, of the biggest event of their lives, but not necessarily the best event of their lives. Claire, the Waverly daughter who now lives in the house, regularly gathers the apples and buries them. Around the tree grows magical herbs, which Claire ingeniously uses put in food for uses such as bringing happiness to other people or compelling them apologize if apologies are needed. The Waverly’s special wine is used for helping people see in the dark.
This book, though, is not just about the magic, but about the relationships in a town where families for generations have either been the best of friends or feuding with one another, and not knowing the real reason anymore. Claire has felt so abandoned her entire life that she prefers not to make too many attachments. She only wants people and things in her life that will remain constant. Her sister and her niece are starting to become constants, but Claire worries that they will leave, too. Her sister Sydney and niece Bay have returned from some place and situation that Sydney reveals later.
This is a sweet book. The story is well-told and very effective. The conclusion of the story is bit predictable, but that is exactly why this book is so good. I enjoyed it very much.