In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world—no matter how out of place they feel. Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Such as, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? And why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes. Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes—which is a good thing, because Julia can’t seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar . . . Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she’s hurt in the past? Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
The story hinted at several leads that could have held deeper developments but with so many different directions it was hard to go into enough detail about any of them in such a short book. The story introduced changing wallpaper, a missing child put up for adoption, and a man seeing through the wall to watch the woman he loved bake. I started to conceive all these directions and possibilities where not a single one played out. Each detail seemed to be a teaser and I was disappointed in the author not going into further detail, but a pro to that is that it was a simplistic story line that kept you guessing, but never went it the direction you though it would. Once it revealed that Win Coffey boy appeared in Emily's bedroom the first night she was in town and made constant appearances after to watch her sleep, that screamed Twilight awkwardness. I was amused when he finally revealed why he couldn't come out at night, that after generations of this genetic mutation the best title they could come up with for it was something still so femininely dry, "the glowing".
I felt like with the author followed two separate stories that at the end if they would have intertwined and created a cohesiveness it would have been a beautiful ending, but they grew to be completely independent. They did both have separate happy endings though. I did enjoy how they concluded the two stories and brought them both to their separate closures. I enjoyed the suspense and secrecy that would slowly give you a little taste of the truth until you finally thought you got all the pieces near the end and you were turned around in a 180, realizing everything you thought was wrong. It held a great energy and mystery. I would recommend this as a fun read to the younger audience. The beginning of the book had a dedication to the gentle giant who holds the world record for being the tallest man, but I wish it held more of an explanation to her relationship to him. Why was it so important to include a giant in this story. I didn't understand the added benefit of making the grandfather a giant, except that his size was his possible quirk since it seemed everyone else in town had something different about them. P.S. I am attending my first book club hosted by my local library to discuss this book along with taste a few of the sweets mentioned throughout and I will be posting the questions that arise and others' insight next week on 06/23/16 so stay tuned!
I attended by first Book Club a.k.a. "Read It & Eat It Book Club" at my local Library, Octavia Fields yesterday. It was my first time to get out in my new community and meet and mingle with some people and it was a bonus we all shared a passion for books. The attendance ranged from people who brought detailed notes on every character to someone who read it two months ago and at the end of the meeting stated that "she was finally starting to remember the story" and might have possible just come for the "Eat It" part of the book club. I was hoping that someone would have brought hummingbird cake, but we ended up with Pineapple upside down cake, some super good chocolate cookies, and barbecue sandwiches. If I'm not traveling next month, I'm going to try to make something homemade to bring that directly ties to one of my favorite scenes from the book. Anyways, so it was a small turn out, consisting of eight women including myself, which I thought wasn't so bad, but according to the Book Club organizer was smaller than usual. The general consensus was that everyone enjoyed the book. I might have been the only one not enthusiastically phrasing it because I came with questions and concerns that I wanted to hear other peoples take on before I could truly judge and understand my perspective of some of the events in the book. Two questions that everyone in attendance had to answer was who their favorite and least favorite characters were and why, so I've included my own survey below to see what everyone else thinks. The winner for favorite character in our group was Win Coffey, who stood against the grain and didn't judge someone on past transgressions. The winner or perhaps loser to win the least favorite character was by far Mr. Coffey, who was still holding strong on a grudge from decades ago and confronted and yelled at a teenager for her mothers mistakes. There was one person who voted the grandfather as their favorite character because his soft spoken demeanor and how excited he was planning Emily's future at the end, but there was also someone who voted him their least favorite because he shut down emotionally after his wife died and threw money at his daughter and spoiled her, forgetting to raise her right. Vote below and leave a comment with why you picked your two answers.