As a native of North Carolina, I’m always excited to find another local author and I look forward to following Sarah Addison Allen in her writing career. This latest book, The Sugar Queen, is set in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina and the setting is absolutely beautiful, and even if you’ve never been, you’ll still see the beauty of the Appalachian mountains in her descriptive writing.
The Sugar Queen, Josey, is a wealthy, young, girl indebted to her mother and forever trying to please and take care of her since the father’s death. She carries a deep sense of guilt and tries to earn her mother’s forgiveness only to discover that her parents were not the people she believed them to be. As the story begins, Josey is pretty much a loner and finds comfort in her closeted “sugar” stash. All of this is revealed the day, Della Lee, local tramp, moves into Josey’s closet and begins to give her advice on how to be her own person. Josey soon discovers the magic of new friends, new family members, and a happier new life. Strong themes of friendship, forgiveness, and love are woven throughout the story and into the lives of all of Ms. Allen’s richly developed characters.
The book is enhanced by the bit of magic and the allusion of ghosts being so cleverly integrated with a modern day romance novel. What a wonderful summer read! I can’t wait to find her first book, Garden Spells, and anxiously await her new novel coming in 2009.