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Look Inside | Reading Guide
Apr 14, 2009
| ISBN 9780553384840
May 20, 2008
| ISBN 9780553905243
May 20, 2008
| 482 Minutes
May 20, 2008
| 384 Minutes
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Apr 14, 2009 | ISBN 9780553384840
May 20, 2008 | ISBN 9780553905243
May 20, 2008 | ISBN 9781415954348
May 20, 2008 | ISBN 9780739368671
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever. Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night. . . . Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters. Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.Praise for The Sugar Queen“Like the most decadently addictive bonbons, once started, Allen’s magically entrancing novel is impossible to put down.”—Booklist (starred review)“Bewitching . . . Such a pleasurable book.”—Publishers Weekly
In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.
Sarah Addison Allen is the author of The Peach Keeper, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Garden Spells, and The Sugar Queen. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina.
“Like the most decadently addictive bonbons, once started, Allen’s magically entrancing novel is impossible to put down.”—Booklist (starred review) “Bewitching…. Such a pleasurable book.”—Publishers Weekly
Random House Reader’s Circle: What inspired the story of The Sugar Queen? Sarah Addison Allen: I know someone who retired from the postal service after thirty years of running a rural route. I loved hearing the stories of elderly patrons who would stand by their boxes with iced tea or a slice of cake for the mailman. It wasn’t the mail they looked forward to, it was the mailman–the only person they saw on a regular basis. Josey’s Rapunzel-like character was born from this. I began to wonder, what if there was a young woman trapped in her own house? The mailman would be her only contact with the outside world. What if she fell in love with him? What an interesting dynamic that would be–the young woman, living for the arrival of the mail, and the mailman, with no idea he was carrying off her heart when he left each day. RHRC: How did you decide on the specific candies mentioned in The Sugar Queen? And which candy is your favorite? SAA: I knew I wanted to focus on candy that would realistically be found in a small Southern town like the one in The Sugar Queen, so I decided on Southern and rural candies. And I took my research very seriously. I made it my mission to try every cookie, candy, and sweet mentioned in the book. A hard job, but someone had to do it. Of all the candy I tried, my favorite was probably Cow Tales. Caramel-apple-flavored Cow Tales, in particular. RHRC: The town of Bald Slope in The Sugar Queen is described as a ski resort town. Is there really skiing in North Carolina? SAA: Yes! When you think of the South, snow doesn’t automatically come to mind. But there are many great ski resorts in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. I based the fictional town of Bald Slope in The Sugar Queen on the small ski towns in this area. RHRC: What’s the most unusual thing in your closet? Do you hide secret things in your closet like Josey? SAA: My closet is so crammed with stuff that most of what’s in there is a secret even to me. I’m planning an archeological dig soon. But the most unusual thing I know of is probably several boxes of old Star Wars memorabilia I collected as a kid. You never know when a Luke Skywalker action figure might come in handy. RHRC: What are you working on now? SAA: I’m not through exploring the lovely and vast strangeness of the South. My next books will have all the magic, romance, food, and Southern settings that readers have come to expect from a Sarah Addison Allen novel. I have the warmest, most enthusiastic readers. These books are a joy to write because of them. RHRC: Why do you think your books have struck such a chord in readers? SAA: Maybe because the books explore the magic of the ordinary. Everyday things are magical, we just take them for granted. Apples. Candy. A good haircut. Books. Community. Family. Friends. A small gift. A letter in the mail. Falling in love. RHRC: Speaking of falling in love, many readers would love to know what happens to the characters in The Sugar Queen. Where do you see them now? SAA: Josey and Adam continue to travel. Adam wants children, but it will be years before he’ll tell Josey this. He wants her to experience all she can, all she wants to. They come back to Bald Slope to have their first and only child, a little boy named Parker. Josey chooses to have her child in Bald Slope, not because of her mother–who never even sees the baby–but because she wants Chloe with her. Chloe and Jake have a solid relationship and three redheaded children. Jake eventually becomes district attorney. Books still follow Chloe around. They also follow Chloe’s youngest child, a little girl named Hanna. Josey tells Chloe about their father, and Chloe accepts it, mostly because the book The Princess Diaries hounds her until she does. Margaret and Rawley marry, but no one knows this until Margaret passes away years later. Margaret and Josey never truly reconcile. From the beginning, their stories were meant to diverge and never reconnect. It’s the only way for them to be truly happy. It’s a hard truth, but we are sometimes happier without some people in our lives. I don’t know what happens to Julian. He loses his power after Della Lee passes away. And without the magic that defined him, he slowly ceases to exist, until no one can see him anymore. I can’t see him. Marlena moves back to South America ten years later. She lives with her sister and sometimes dreams of Bald Slope, of mountains covered in a patchwork quilt of colors. And sometimes ghosts from her time in North Carolina visit her and she chases them away with salt and sand, but not before sitting down and discussing what’s going on in the lives of those she left behind. That’s what she and ghosts have in common–concern for the living.
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