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The Sugar Queen Hardcover – May 20, 2008
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Mass Market Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Ariadne Meyers's warm and whimsical performance invigorates a colorful cast of characters. Since most of them come from the same small North Carolina town, nearly all carry Southern accents, yet Meyers makes each voice uniqueand believable: the elderly yet forceful and intimidating tone of imperious Margaret; the initially soft, timid voice of Josey, which grows stronger and more confident as the book goes on; the sassy, brassy twang of feisty Della Lee; the lazy, sexy drawl of charming-but-dangerous Julian. The abridgement is seamless. Meyers' rich, nuanced performance adds an extra dimension and will keep listeners captivated from beginning to end. A Bantam hardcover (Reviews, May 5). (June)
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"Like the most decadently addictive bonbons, once started, Allen’s magically entrancing novel is impossible to put down."—Booklist, starred review
“Bewitching…. Such a pleasurable book.”—Publishers Weekly
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The characters were rather flat for the better part of the first half of the book, but then it picked up and I was rooting for one in particular. However, there were some pieces that never had satisfying resolutions. I kept waiting but it never happened. And when it seemed like they might, the book ended.
I gave it three stars because she has a good writing style. I just think the story needed to be fleshed out a little more, especially because there was more than one storyline going on at the same time. I would have liked to say more, but I don't want to ruin the book for someone else with spoilers. Bottom line; well written and interesting premise once you actually figure out what the premise is. I'd try another of her books.
I waited far too long to pick up this or any of Sarah Addison Allen's books, but I'm so glad I finally did. All of my best blogging buddies and their dogs have read it already (see below), and since there was not a ho-hum or negative reaction among them, I was never worried about my own response. I told myself I was just waiting for the right time, but I let all these other books get in the way. It took me until my newly formed family book club chose it for its inaugural meeting, but honestly? At this point I have no regrets - I do enough self-punishing in other areas of my life. I am simply too busy being happy to finally know what everyone's been talking about, pleased in The Sugar Queen and already anticipating reading SAA's entire backlist as soon as possible.
I find it ironic that what interested me the most yet made me most skeptical of in SAA books - the magic realism - fit seamlessly. Chloe's books and Josey's red cardigan seemed to be naturally-occurring parts of their personalities. It was the initial setup that rang a little unrealistic to me. How could anyone in reality be so trapped at twenty-seven and feel so indebted to their mother that they had never moved out and had never had a real life of their own? It seemed too pathetic to be true. But Josey is not pathetic, not at all, and as you slowly get the pieces that make up the complicated relationship she has with her mother you begin to understand Josey's slave-like commitment to her. Continuing on that honest note I did find it a little a lot strange that anyone would break into the Cirrini house and live in Josey's closet for more than a night or two, but as time goes on (of course!) I found my doubts utterly unfounded. Doubts and lengthy tangents aside, the sharp yet warm writing won me over from the first chapter as I connected immediately to Josey and Della Lee. There were enough pages with quotes I wanted to remember so I actually jotted the page numbers down as I read, which I rarely do.
I'm not sure if any of the subtle touches of magic in The Sugar Queen or frankly any of Sarah Addison Allen's novels can come close to topping Chloe's power of summoning any book out of thin air, just when she needs it, to have it reappear at home, at work, or at a restaurant if she's ignoring it. This is a book lover's dream. What a way of having your books always with you. From the writing to Chloe and Jake's troubled relationship and the twist ending, everything about this book ended up coming through for me in spades. As novels set in small towns aspire, The Sugar Queen was a cozy read full of flawed yet likable and real characters, sweet romances, and a charming North Carolina town. You'll be rooting for them all to find their own little corner of happiness while enjoying the magic of appearing books, inexplicable boiling water, and the smell of peppermint oil. I cannot wait to settle in with another of Sarah Addison Allen's books. Question is, which one?