Claire Waverly is a caterer in Bascom, North Carolina. The plants that grow in her garden seem to have special powers. For example, honeysuckle helps people to see in the dark, rose petals encourage love, and candied violets bring on happiness. Claire learned to love gardening and cooking from her grandmother, who raised Claire and her sister, Sydney, after their mother abandoned them. The two sisters have always been very different. Claire craves stability and permanence. She has lovingly kept up her grandmother’s house and garden. Sydney has followed her mother’s path, leaving town right after high school, and staying away for ten years. She escapes a dangerous relationship and returns home. Claire and Sydney have to get to know each other again as adults, and to discover how they each belong in their small town. This is a charming book full of magical realism, the bond between sisters, and what it means to belong.
Reviewed by Fiona Swift