This review can also be read in the Canon City Daily Record.
Every once in a while, a reader needs to take a break from something cerebral or intentional, returning to a book that had been thoroughly enjoyed at one point. This cooler weather has brought on the desire to curl up with a good book that never disappoints. It can be hard to explain why we love a favored book. All I can do is tell you what the book is about so you can grab a copy of the magical fiction, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - see if this clean, gentle love story transports you, too.
Josey Cirrini is no longer the petulant, spoiled child the town of Bald Slope remembers her to be. Rather she has become quiet and demure, cowed and invalidated by her hard and widowed, Southern Belle mother. Josey's sole purpose in life is to cater to her mother's needs, driving her to luncheons and hair appointments, and helping her keep up the illusion of privileged independence. There are only a few things that bring joy to Josey each day - the handsome man who delivers the mail, travel magazines, and a closet filled to the brim with a secret stash of sweets.
Yet lemon drops and snow caps are not the only things in her closet. Della Lee Baker, a local waitress, suddenly takes up residence there beside the bottles of pop and licorice whips. And does not leave. Instead, the rough and blunt, bleach-blonde woman imparts assignments and food orders that force Josey Cirrini to leave her closet - her room - and venture into the world beyond. With the falling of leaves, and the changing of seasons, magic sets growth and healing into motion.
In this world outside her home, Josey discovers Chloe Finley, a young woman followed by insistent books. A lifelong blessing and curse, books appear, pushing themselves and their content on Chloe - at the exact moments she needs them. Her heart has been deeply broken, making space in her life to befriend the Cirrini daughter... and connect Josey with that mailman she has fallen in love with.
Doughnuts and candy bars are not the only secrets in the town of Bald Slope. And friendship is not the only magic. There's love to be rekindled after decades... the color red, once shunned, now to be worn... a murder to be solved... spirits to be acknowledged... hearts to be opened and healed... snowmen to be built... strength and confidence to be welcomed... and journeys to take beyond the doorways of closets, where candy hearts can no longer take the place of real love and acceptance.
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