Title: The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: fiction (chick-lit)
Length: 7.5 hours
Published: March 22, 2011
Source: public library
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 😦