An addendum to the "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" list.
My friend Dana recommended this book to me, and when the library had it on the shelf, I went ahead and checked it out while the recommendation was fresh. What a delightful read! I was captivated by the characters, both Claire the steadfast older sibling, and Sydney the prodigal sister who returns home.
It's just a great story. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.
From Publishers Weekly (amazon.com):
Two gifted sisters draw on their talents to belatedly forge a bond and find their ways in life in Allen's easygoing debut novel. Thirty-four-year-old Claire Waverley manifests her talent in cooking; using edible flowers, Claire creates dishes that affect the eater in curious ways. But not all Waverley women embrace their gifts; some, including Claire's mother, escape the family's eccentric reputation by running away. She abandoned Claire and her sister when they were young. Consequently, Claire has remained close to home, unwilling to open up to new people or experiences. Claire's younger sister, Sydney, however, followed in their mother's footsteps 10 years ago and left for New York, and after a string of abusive, roustabout boyfriends, returns to Bascom, N.C., with her five-year-old daughter, Bay. As Sydney reacquaints herself with old friends and rivals, she discovers her own Waverley magic. Claire, in turn, begins to open up to her sister and in the process learns how to welcome other possibilities. Though Allen's prose can lean toward the pedestrian and the romance subplots feel perfunctory, the blending of horticultural folklore, the supernatural and a big dollop of Southern flavor should find favor with a wide swath of readers. (Aug.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition