The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen was my Want Books pick a couple of months ago. I picked up Garden Spells first and enjoyed it so much that I decided to read this right after.

Here’s the summary from Sarah Addison Allen’s website:

Josey Cirinni is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and her passion for the man she loves is best kept a secret, even from him. Josey has grudgingly settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, but her one consolation is the secret stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she keeps in her closet. One morning, she opens her closet for a sweet, but finds Della Lee Baker hiding there instead. Della Lee is a local waitress on the run who is one part nemesis — and two parts fairy godmother. Under Della Lee’s guidance, Josey is soon living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion is so real it can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters.

When I first started reading this book, I only meant to read a couple of chapters. I ended up finishing it until 3am, leaving me with only two and a half hours of sleep. There’s something about Sarah Addison Allen’s writing that makes you just want to gobble up her words. Twenty-seven-year-old Josey is stuck living with her domineering mother who constantly reminds her that she will never be beautiful. Josey longs to leave her North Carolina town but stays out of a sense of obligation to her mother. Instead, she comforts herself with a secret stash of paperback romances, travel magazines and lots and lots of candy hidden in her closet. Can totally relate to Josey on this one because I LOVE sweets although my fondness extends to more than just candy. Obviously, I also love books but not exactly romances. Josey’s life takes a turn for the better when she finds rough and wild Della Lee in her closet. Della Lee encourages her to come out of her shell and befriend a heartbroken woman named Chloe. This book is a story of friendship between these women and it also deals with their unfortunate love lives. Della Lee accurately describes them when she says, “Girls like us, when we love, it takes everything we have.”

The Sugar Queen is just as enchanting as Sarah Addison Allen’s debut novel, Garden Spells although I found myself liking the latter more. Both Josey and Chloe slowly come to their own and become more independent as the story develops. I think I liked Garden Spells more mostly because I couldn’t get past what Jake did to Chloe. I know he’s really a good guy and he loves her but I really can’t understand why he was able to do that and I sympathized with Chloe and what she was going through. I think it’s a good thing that throughout her life, Chloe was comforted by books. Books would magically appear whenever she needed them. What an amazing kind of magic, isn’t it? I would love to have something like that. Here’s a lovely bit that I’d like to quote:

“Books can be possessive, can’t they? You’re walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what’s inside will change your life, but sometimes you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes it’s a comfort just to have a book around. Many of these books haven’t even had their spines cracked. ‘Why do you buy books you don’t even read?’ our daughter asks us. That’s like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course.”

Sarah Addison Allen has been added to my auto-buy list after I finished reading Garden Spells and I really enjoyed reading this one even though I had some problems with it. I loved that this is set in autumn/winter and that Josey loves snow because I’ve never seen or experienced snow. The setting made the book a good read for December. Can’t wait to get my copy of The Girl Who Chased the Moon, I ordered it from the Book Depository two weeks ago and it still hasn’t arrived.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Random Musings of a Bibliophile
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20 thoughts on “The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

    • I loved Garden Spells more than this one but you’re right, both are light and good reads. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I hope it’s just as good!

  1. Gosh, I can’t even remember the details of The Sugar Queen anymore. I liked Garden Spells more than this, but I remember enjoying this one too.

    Agree with you on the “magical books”…how wonderful it would be to have a book appear every time you need one.:D

    • Celina, when did you read this? We should read The Girl Who Chased the Moon at the same time so we could discuss it. 🙂

      I’m really jealous of the books that appear magically. Imagine wishing for a copy of a book and it just shows up out of nowhere.

      • I finished this last May. I actually read a couple of chapters again earlier because I wanted to remember what it was about. Funny that I kind of liked it better when I re-read parts of it again.

        That’s a good idea…let me know when you get your copy and are ready to read it.:)

      • There really are some books that get better when you reread them. Maybe that’ll be the case with this one when I get around to rereading it. 🙂

        My Book Depository still hasn’t arrived but I’ll let you know when I receive the books. I’ll probably start reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon as soon as I get it.

    • I was really sleepy the next day! I don’t usually drink coffee but I felt like I needed the caffeine in my system so I grabbed a drink at the Starbucks near work.

      I love that quote. 🙂

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  4. YES! I initially preferred The Sugar Queen over Garden Spells before I actually got around reading them just cause TSQ’s cover is so mesmerizing! After being able to read both, though, I also liked Garden Spells better. :> Claire and Sydney’s relationship reminds me so much of my sister and I’s relationship. :))

    • I have to agree with you, the cover of The Sugar Queen is nice than Garden Spells (probably because there’s a girl with a book looking out a window with a view?) but content-wise, I loved Garden Spells more. 🙂

      Aww it’s nice that you can see a reflection of your relationship with your sister in the characters’ interactions. I’m really curious about The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

  5. Oh, I loved this one! You’re right: Allen is becoming an auto-buy author for me, too. Her books always have just the perfect sweet touch of magic to make them fun, but not completely unrealistic. Thanks for linking to my review, too!

      • i’ll have to get this one out from my lib

        love the quote you included 🙂 her whole book i read was pretty much quotable ~ her prose is just gorgeous 😀

      • Yep, all of SAA’s books are like that so I have a feeling you’ll like all of them, Nomes. 🙂 Good thing your library has a copy!

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