This book puts Sarah Addison Allen firmly on my list of must-buy, favorite authors.
Allen is a master of magic realism, weaving all too believable human angst and drama into a setting where a man had a sweet sense, the wallpaper of a young girl's room changes to reflect what's going on, a family has a bright, bright secret that keeps them out of the night, and where a woman bakes cakes to lure her daughter home again.
Lest all the talk of magic leads you astray, this isn't a fluffy, easy book to read and it's all the better for it. Although the blurb mentions Emily, for me this will always be more of Julia's story. The story of a young woman who lost hope, found it, and then had her hopes and heart dashed to pieces. From the careful way Allen handles Julia's cutting to the giving up of her child to her cakes -- this story broke my heart, made me smile, and tempted me to look carefully at the next cake I make, just to see if I can see something that I never saw before.
I did wish that the story could have gone on a bit longer. I wanted to see Julia get her happily ever after and to see her revel in it. However, the ending was on a sweet note, although leaving me wanting more.
Review Re-Issued : Originally Reviewed 2010-04-30 - Title available in both Hardback and Trade Size
In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestelling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world...no matter how out of place they feel.
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life.
Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.
Everyone in Mullaby...