The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.Read more...
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be. It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.
But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.
For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.
Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.
- ISBN-13: 9780553807226
- ISBN-10: 0553807226
- Publisher: Bantam
- Publish Date: March 2011
- Page Count: 288
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-03-07
- Reviewer: Staff
At 30, Willa Jackson returns to her small Southern hometown, Walls of Water, N.C., in the wake of a failed marriage to her college sweetheart. She's determined now to lead the quiet life she believes her father wants her to have, but is soon derailed by the wealthy and powerful Osgoods, the family that shaped her high school experience. The Jacksons were also wealthy once, until the logging industry failed, and Willa's teenage grandmother went to work as a maid for the Osgoods. Paxton Osgood, Willa's counterpart, has everything Willa envies—wealth, beauty and a sense of belonging—but Paxton hides a deep loneliness and discontent. To further complicate Willa's unrest, Paxton's brother, Colin, fled town years before but has returned and become an irresistible force in Willa's life. When a skeleton that holds the secret to both the Osgood and Jackson family fortunes is discovered at the Jackson family's old estate, long-held beliefs are likely to be overturned. Allen (The Girl Who Chased the Moon) juggles smalltown history and mystical thriller, character development and eerie magical realism in a fine Southern gothic drama. The underlying tension will please and unnerve readers, as well as leave them eager for Allen's next. (Apr.)
Digging up the past
Willa Jackson may have moved back home to Walls of Water, North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be there. She handily isolates herself running a shop along the touristy strip of town that specializes in organic sportswear. In her neatly arranged (and boring) life, Willa hardly has to see any of the girls she went to high school with, including most especially Paxton Osgood, a rich do-gooder whose uppity fakeness and manicured nails set Willa’s teeth on edge.
Unfortunately for Willa—but fortunately for readers—her past refuses to stay tucked away. The renovation of an old mansion, the Blue Ridge Madam, causes Willa’s and Paxton’s paths to cross at last. In a twist too zany to be believed outside of the genre of Southern fiction, the women’s grandmothers were the dearest of friends and harbor a horrible secret, which has remained hidden beneath the peach tree in the garden: It’s the body of a dead man, and the two old women know how it got there. As the young protagonists unfold the mystery, they are offered a chance at friendship that neither realized they needed. Along the way they become entangled in new romances and create a few secret-worthy stories of their own.
Sometimes you just get a hankering for a novel that lets you kick up your feet, pour a glass of peach-flavored iced tea and relax. Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper is just such a read. Funny characters, great storytelling and winsome humor make this book feel like a vacation between two covers.