The Peach Keeper is an interesting and light-hearted read about life in a small Southern town that is reminiscent of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. The Peach Keeper starts with an invitation to a gala celebrating 75 years of the Walls of Water Women's Society Club and the restoration of The Blue Ridge Madam, a historical house built by the once wealthy Jackson family. As this gala is the event of the year, it brings people back to town as well as bringing up old memories and secrets.
In 1936, Georgie Jackson and Agatha Osgood formed the Walls of Water Women's Society Club with their friends to provide support and protection for each other in a world where women had few options if things were amiss at home. Over time the Walls of Water Women's Society Club has gone from a group that got its hands dirty helping each other to a group of high society women who spend more time trying to one-up each other socially than working to help others in need. Paxton Osgood and Willa Jackson are descendants of the original founders of the club and couldn't be more different from each other. Paxton is the epitome of the spoiled southern belle while Willa is down to earth and runs a sporting goods store.
The main characters can be summed up by the title of one of the chapters "The Joker, the Stick Man, the Princess, and the Freak". Four people who led parallel lives in high school become intimately entwined in their adult lives despite their major differences. Paxton and Colin Osgood are twins and from a very wealthy family; Willa Jackson was the high school practical joker who returns to Walls of Water, NC after her father dies; and Sebastian Rogers is the asexual dentist who came from a rough family and was an absolute outcast throughout high school. They come together as adults to find that as much as they believe they have changed since high school they are essentially the same people and that they have seriously misjudged each other over the years.
As the story unfolds, we find that friendships can be based on any number of things but that true friendship not only stands the test of time; it, like love, also blossoms where you may least expect it. If you are looking for a fun book with a happy ending, The Peach Keeper is one of four books by Sarah Addison Allen. All of her books touch on southern life, family expectations, love, and friendship with a little bit of magic thrown in to keep them lively. Other titles include The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Sugar Queen, and Garden Spells which are all available at Cecil County Public Library.
Recommended by LaTanya West