These charming novels of magic and mystery will satisfy your gardening soul as you dream of spring…
Tended by generations of Waverly women, the Waverly garden with its edible flowers, herbs, and cranky old apple tree plays an enchanting role in the lives of the Bascom, North Carolina townspeople. All the Waverly women have gifts, and Claire’s special talent is using herbs and flowers from the Waverly garden in recipes that affect the eater in unusual ways. Claire’s magical recipes make her a highly sought after and successful caterer, but when Claire’s secretive sister returns after many years, Claire’s tried-and-true recipes aren’t working their usual magic. A bewitching tale of magical realism, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen explores the bonds between sisters and the sometimes unwelcome gifts a family legacy can bring.
Magic is also featured in Susanna Kearsley’s lovely, romantic novel The Rose Garden. Eva Ward, mourning the death of her beloved sister, decides to seek solace at Trelowarth, a manor house high on a hill above the sea in Cornwall where she and her sister spent many happy childhood summers. Eva tries to immerse herself in the family’s plan to open the beautiful terraced gardens sheltering Old Garden roses to tourists but becomes distracted by voices only she can hear and visions of people in eighteenth-century clothing that only she can see. Is her deep grief causing hallucinations? Or has she somehow traveled back in time to 1715? Eva soon realizes that she isn’t unhinged, she really is back in 1715 and helplessly falling in love with Daniel Butler, a handsome smuggler, who is equally smitten with her.
Not quite so far back in time, 1930 to be exact, the ladies of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club expect the usual year of flower shows, plant sales, and garden tours in the sleepy town of Darling, Alabama (home to “907 good Christian people…and only a few Bad Apples”). Camellias and magnolias take a back seat, though, when some mysterious events disturb the peaceful community: escaped convicts, bank embezzlement, rumors of infidelity, a black-caped spade-wielding ghost, and most of all a tragic car accident which leaves pretty blonde Bunny Scott dead. Gardening and snooping are not incompatible, however, and the Darling Dahlias manage to get to the bottom of these mysteries and still get those annuals planted. A winning combination of period details and delightful characters, The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree is the first in Susan Wittig Albert’s Darling Dahlias series.