Sarah Addison Allen has slowly become one of my favorite authors. Her books feel good to read, they have been a perfect in-between book, especially after I finish a book I’ve struggled with. Kind like a breath of fresh air. They are also the perfect summer read. Something about the way this author writes always strikes me with the same satisfaction as eating homemade pie, you can taste the sweetness.
This particular book, The Peach Keeper, takes place in a small town in North Carolina. The story primarily centers around two women: Willa Jackson and Paxton Osgood. Both come from prominent old families who helped build the town and whose grandmothers used to be best friends. The families became estranged after the Jackson family lost their fortune and their estate, The Blue Ridge Madam, when Willa’s grandmother was still a teenager.
The two women lead very different lives on the surface: Paxton is a socialite and president of the local Womens’ Society, and Willa runs a small business that caters to tourists. Just beneath the surface lies a key similarity: both struggle to live the life their family expects. For Willa, this means a quiet, uneventful and responsible existence; For Paxton, this means being the perfect southern belle.
However their worlds begin to collide after Paxton decides to restore the Blue Ridge Madam. During the reconstruction of the site, a skeleton is dug up at the base of an old cherry tree. Brought together through the discovery of the seventy-five year mystery, their lives will forever change.
Like many of this author's books, it is about friendship between women. How those friendships are so important because of what they provide for women. No one knows what a woman needs, better than another woman. Especially, when it comes the dangers that men can pose to their safety and their hearts.
I think that is one of the reasons that I love these books so much. There is just an honesty about the many relationships between women. Family and friend relationships. Too often women are depicted as being too catty and backstabbing to be friends with each other. In my experience, female relationships are so often depicted that way, that many women have actually started to believe it. So it’s great to see the importance of those relationships played out.
However, my one fault with this book, and nearly all of the books I've read, is that they aren't exactly diverse. The cast tends to be all upper to middle class white people, and the world is definitely not made up quite so uniformly.
For, me this is a big problem. It makes it hard to relate to the story. So while the story is utterly enchanting, it isn't exactly the whole story. And the readers can tell.