Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Hummngbird Cupcakes, recipe from The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

I will begin this post with cupcakes because that is what Sarah Addison Allen's books remind me of, something wonderful and sweet that always make me smile.

I wasn't surprised when this book was nominated by our members, and then immediately voted in.  It is the last book by Sarah Addison Allen that our book group hadn't read.  So now, until she writes another, we have officially read a full book run of an author.  Garden Spells is still my favorite, but this one held my favorite character.  That being said, I enjoyed every single one of her novels; I was always hooked from the very first page and always finished in one sitting.  How many authors can we say that about?

The Girl Who Chased the Moon begins with Emily, a teenage girl who moves to the small southern town of Mullaby, known for its barbecue.  Emily's mother passed away and the only remaining relative is Vance, a grandfather she never knew.  Emily's mother moved away due to a past she wasn't proud of and a scandal the town of Mullaby hasn't forgotten.  Vance is abnormally tall, a gentle giant who accepts his new responsibility to his granddaughter with endearing awkwardness.

Vance's neighbor, Julia, takes Emily under her protective wing, knowing the people of Mullaby will not welcome her due to a secret her mother revealed in a public display about Mullaby's most prominent family.  The display resulted in a family member's death.  Julia owns a restaurant, inherited from her father, and bakes cakes to increase business, and for other reasons.  She wants to sell the restaurant and open a bakery.  I will not reveal the real motivation behind her baking in this review as not to give away an important scene.  Julia is an amazing character, my favorite out of all Allen's books to date. 

As with all of Allen's novels, The Girl Who Chased the Moon is filled with Southern charm, recipes I want to try, and a bit of magic realism.  I have learned to expect a charming touch of whimsy in all of Allen's books, superstitions made real in a quirky setting.

Most importantly, especially for our meeting that discusses this book, Sarah Addison Allen included recipes of the cakes Julia bakes in the story.  I have made hummingbird cupcakes.  I won't tell you how much sugar, butter and cream cheese is in the recipe, only that it is very Southern, and very divine---what I lovingly refer to as quality calories, food worth gaining a pound for.

As always, hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan


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