The Peach Keeper: A Novel of The Mystery of Friendship

Courtesy of Random House, Inc

Katherine Forneret

In the small, historical town of Walls of Water, North Carolina, there are secrets underground and ghosts on the wind.

Bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen’s newest book, “The Peach Keeper,” tells the story of two women on opposite sides of the spectrum, and their interlocking histories that will inevitably draw them closer together.

Once again, Allen is able to create relatable and lovable characters that are so hopelessly lost at the start of the novel that the only way they can go is up.

In a town where everyone knows one another and each life is viewed under a magnifying glass, Paxton Osgood is running her life the way that everyone, especially her mother, expects her to. As president of the Women’s Society Club, and granddaughter of an original member, she has taken it upon herself to restore the old Blue Ridge Madam—a historical house that once belonged to the Jackson family. On the inside, Paxton is unhappy, but she cannot find the strength to make the necessary changes in her life to turn it around.

Willa Jackson, the granddaughter of the last Jackson to have lived in Blue Ridge Madam, hides from her family tree, letting her life become consumed by one uneventful day after another.

Her grandmother was also an original member of the Women’s Society Club, but unlike Paxton, she shirks any connections that she has to the lives of the wealthy. After a scandal involving her grandmother, Willa’s family lost everything, including their social standing.

What starts out as a simple romance novel surrounded by an even simpler mystery, quickly turns into a magical story about life, love, and expectations.

Allen weaves subtle enchantments into her story that makes us believe that we can find this magic in the everyday. Even though this story is far from a fantasy, Allen leaves you with the feeling that you have experienced something extraordinary and yet completely possible.

As always, Allen’s story fills your heart with hope and love, rekindling emotions and dreams that you once felt were lost, as you see her characters of all ages develop, grow and learn.

Allen’s novel is inspirational; it will open your eyes to what is important to you, the people that you may not pay enough attention to, and those who have always been there for you, but you may have forgotten.

As we learn more about each character, they, in turn, learn more about themselves. We see them grow before our eyes and break out of the molds that they allowed themselves to be pressed into over their many years of living in Walls of Water.

When beginning this book, one may first feel the story is that of the mystery surrounding the Blue Ridge Manor and the family that used to live there, but by the end of the novel it is clear that Allen only uses this mystery to bring her characters to the conclusions they need to reach.

It is purely a story of friendship, but it is successfully masked as a mystery.

The reader will find, however, that this façade is a blessing. Allen has written this book to show the meaning of true friendship as well as how easy it is to get lost within your own life and forget those that once mattered most to you.

By the end of the novel Allen’s message is strong and true, leaving the reader with the urge to reconnect with the ones they used to hold so close.