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The Peach Keeper: A Novel Hardcover – March 22, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 536 customer reviews

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A Letter from Author Sarah Addison Allen
She put a penny on her windowsill and cracked the window, because her grandmother once said that ghosts often forget they’re ghosts and will go after money, but if they get close enough to an open window, the night air will suck them out.
--Chapter Eight, The Peach Keeper

The original title of The Peach Keeper was God Eats Peaches, which I took from the old saying, “When God eats peaches, He saves the pit.” I had a cousin who would never throw away a peach pit based on that saying. She thought it was bad luck. My family is full of strange Southern superstitions. My great-aunt never liked for company to come in through one door and leave through another because she said that meant the preacher would visit.

How many of us grew up seeing our mothers throw a pinch of salt over their shoulders when salt was spilled? How many of us remember when our grandmothers whispered that a bird tapping on a window meant someone was going to die? We took these things on trembling faith as children, believing them to be real because everything was real back then. Everything had possibilities. So how do we explain, with our skeptical grown-up natures, why we still make an X in the air when a black cat passes. Why we still have to eat something in the morning before we will tell someone about our bad dreams. Why we still worry about umbrellas being opened indoors.

What is it about superstitions that stay with us, that encourage us to pass them on? Flights of fancy, maybe. Or nostalgia. Or maybe the power of the unknown is just that strong. We can’t help but think: What if it’s true? What if it just might be true? So we take an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of cure. We knock on wood and avoid ladders and never break mirrors. Just in case.


Praise for  The Peach Keeper

Allen 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.
-Publisher's Weekly

Praise for Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon

“Captivating . . . Sarah Addison Allen produces tantalizing fiction.”—The Roanoke Times
“A dusting of magic, the aroma of sugary cakes swirling through the breeze, and a girl who unwittingly brings change to a town of misfits make for a sweet summer story filled with hope and forgiveness.”—Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Charming and entertaining . . . Don’t miss this spellbinding tale.”—Asheville Citizen Times
“Allen clearly knows that all the fun is in the journey. . . . Sit back, open this book and join her.”—Greensboro News & Record

“An enjoyable read [with] doses of magical realism and romance.”—Associated Press

“Easy to devour in one sitting.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807226
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (536 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sarah Addison Allen creates worlds in her novels - worlds inhabited by magic - worlds where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. And the world of 'The Peach Keeper' is both magical and extraordinary.

Briefly, the story is set around 'The Blue Ridge Madam' - a mansion in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that was built by Willa Jackson's once well-to-do family. The house is being restored as a historic bed and breakfast and with the restoration comes the unearthing of secrets. Add to these secrets a romance or two, truly likable characters, and that touch of Allen magic, and one more difficult-to-put-down best seller is born.

Five Stars. The bottom line: 'The Peach Keeper' will please Sarah Addison Allen's growing coterie of readers and new readers seeking a relaxing yet intriguing glimpse into life as we wish it were.
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Format: Hardcover
Confession: I sent my husband out last night to retrieve this book for me while I made dinner for the kids and tried to breathe deeply. This pregnancy . . .it palls, you guys. The thing is, he was happy to do it and even (after some creative detective work) snagged the very last copy at our local bookstore! I was incredibly relieved. Because all I wanted to do last night, after dinner and talking to my two squirts, and reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with Will, was get comfortable on the couch and drift off into the wonderful world of Walls of Water, North Carolina. I'm telling you, there is nothing, but nothing like a brand new Sarah Addison Allen book when it comes to comfort reading. You just know you're gonna get the full southern treatment, that the prose will be lighter than air, and that magic will swirl through your veins like cream in one of Rachel's red-and-white striped coffee cups. These are the things you can count on, and THE PEACH KEEPER doesn't disappoint in the slightest.

Willa Jackson returned to the stifling confines of her hometown of Walls of Water, North Carolina eight years ago when her father died. Despite her eternally restless nature, Willa resolved to buckle down and be the docile daughter her father had always wanted, even though it was now too late. So she bought the local organic sporting goods store and settled into a life of safe monotony. She visits her elderly grandmother once a week in the nursing home, even though Georgie doesn't recognize her anymore. She does her laundry every Friday night without fail. And if she sometimes drives up to sit and look at the old Blue Ridge Madam mansion and wonder, well, that's her business.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I feel it's an obligation of publishers and authors to stretch themselves, and always give readers just a little something different, something more than they've gotten before. There is absolutely nothing new here. In Garden Spells it was unique and fun, and now it's overdone. This will be my last Sarah Addison Allen book. It shouldn't have taken me 4 books, but I was giving her the benefit of the doubt.

The word that kept running through my head this whole book was "Trite." Characters, theme, story, dialog, prose.


"Right now everybody is drinking bad wine made of sour grapes and hysteria."

"It was clear that he thought dinner with his family should have its own level in hell, but she thought it sounded nice."

(A Dante reference doesn't elevate the blather.)

And my favorite, after watching "Colin" transplant a 150-year-old Oak tree:

"When it was over his color was high, his clothes were wet with sweat and he was out of breath. He looked positively orgasmic."

Did he? Did he look orgasmic?

I muddled through this book because I owed a review on it, and it was blissfully short and fast. The characters were totally one-dimensional; hard to tell one from the next; and falling into love and lifelong devoted best friendships in a matter of minutes.

It was trying to be something it couldn't even hope to be.

I realize my review is in the minority, and there is something to be said for consistency. But I will not support this kind of writing with my time or my money.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sarah Addison Allen has produced another bewitching novel filled with lavishly evocative prose and amazing characters. There's mystery, there's unexpected romance and there's a lovely feel to this story that makes it somewhere enjoyable to visit. I loved it!
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Format: Hardcover
Okay, I'm going to say two things up front: This review will contain spoilers, and - in spite of how it may sound - I didn't HATE this book. Allen has a charming voice that kept me turning the pages even as I was counting cliches and feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the "gay" content of the novel. Willa and Paxton are likable protagonists, although you know from the start that all their problems will be solved in the approximate running time of a Lifetime movie. Whatever. And Willa's love interest, Colin, is serviceable (if slightly bland).

The problem arises from Paxton's love story. See, she's fallen in love with her gay best friend. She's decided to be cool and not force the issue, until the stress of her life (she's planning a big party!) drives her to instigate some awkward groping. But don't worry! It's okay because he's not really gay! He just dresses nice and says things like "sweetie," and "lovely" a lot. Oh, and this one time when he was a teenager he was gay for a while, but he was just trying to fit in and be accepted(!), and he stopped trying to tell people that he was actually straight because they didn't want to believe it. They didn't know about the gay lover, but the whole town had seen him wear a purple trench coat, and I guess that's enough to brand you for life in the south.

Now, maybe you personally don't know any gay people, but believe me when I tell you - that is not how gay works. In real life, if Paxton had bought her lover's story she would not be headed for a happy ending... she would be headed for disappointment, self-recrimination, alcoholism, and finding her husband in bed with the pool boy. And even the blindest kind of romantic shouldn't be encouraged to pursue that relationship.
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