The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

TitleThe Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: fiction (chick-lit)
ISBN: 9780307875655
Length: 7.5 hours
Published: March 22, 2011
Source: public library
Rating: 4/5
Resolutions/Challenges: Regional USA Sub-Resolution; an extra for my Published in 2011 Resolution

Reason for Reading: I have read two books written by Allen–one of them I liked, one I disliked. So I needed a tie-breaker to see if I should continue reading some of her books. And this was it!

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

My Thoughts: I was pretty pleased with this book. It was a good summer read. I don’t know if my feelings would be the same if I read it in the dead of winter. It was light, but not fluffy. And it was a little informational. I liked the fact that a Southern women’s society was a part of this story. It is a culture I don’t have much experience with, in reality or books. And there was a little mystery, as well–a skeleton and bells that rang for no reason.

Sure, the romances between two sets of guys and girls were pretty cliche and totally obvious from the moment the couple was presented together in the story. But I had expected this, because I know Allen’s writing and those romances that the dominant characters never think will work out miraculously do in most chick-lit I’ve read.

Audiobook Format Thoughts: As far as the narrator, Karen White, goes, I was pretty indifferent on her. She wasn’t the best. There were random times when I could tell she was trying to add in a Southern accent, but it wasn’t very often. So those inconsistencies seemed a bit unprofessional. Now, if she’d done her it’s-obvious-this-isn’t-my-natural-accent Southern accent the whole time, it wouldn’t have been bad. But it was at random times, and for different characters. But the “normal” bits were nice. It was a comforting voice.

Audiobook Realization: Something else I realized with this audiobook is that I have to be careful when I get them from the library. CDs are so easy to scratch, and unfortunately I don’t always realize beforehand when they are. In the instance of The Peach Keeper, I had burned it to iTunes so I could listen to it on my iPod. But then I realized I had no Chapter 13 and the first part of Chapter 14 was also missing. My library didn’t have the book on hand, so I stopped by a bookstore I pass every day on my way to/from work and read the missing parts there. Unfortunately I didn’t remember I didn’t have the first half of Chapter 14 on my iTunes, so I only read Chapter 13. That first part of Chapter 14 is still a mystery to me 😦

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3 thoughts on “The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

  1. I’ve seen a few reviews for this book lately, though I confess, yours is the first I’ve stopped to read! Is it a new release?

    It doesn’t sound like my kind of book – mysterious skeleton, southern US setting and predictable relationships don’t interest me, but I love that you review the audiobook format as well as the story – I wish more reviewers would do that. It does make a big difference, the performer, doesn’t it. And I know what you mean about library audiobooks – I got one out the other day and even though the discs look clean they must be scratched, it kept catching and looping and I had to skip over little patches. I gave up in the end. It’s frustrating to miss sections like that, and ouch, missing an entire chapter! I’m not sure I could have kept going.

    • Kristie says:

      It was released in March.
      The “mysterious skeleton” wasn’t really a huge part of the story. It was pretty much just symbolic for skeletons in the closets of a few choice characters. And I wouldn’t say that I liked this in a “it’s a great piece of literature” way; it was more of a “it’s an interesting albeit somewhat predictable story to read once when I’m in the mood” way 🙂 But from the reviews I read on your blog and what I know of your bookish tastes, I can see that you probably wouldn’t like it haha

      • It’s always good to have these kinds of books handy for when you’re in the mood 🙂
        I’ll try almost anything but I think your lack of enthusiasm for the book definitely swayed me against it! That and the blurb itself … 😉

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