I have yet to read a book by Sarah Addison Allen that I have not loved. Her books are magical. They are witty. They are whimsical. They are charming, and most of all they are entertaining. I just finished listening to the audio version of The Sugar Queen and I am not sure what I liked best, the actual story or the beautiful way it is read by Karen White. The whole experience was just delightful.
Although Josey Cirrini is in her late twenties, she still lives at home with her mother. She has no friends and no life of her own. Her mother controls everything she does and because of an unwarranted sense of guilt Josey goes along with whatever her mother says. Josey’s wealthy, well-respected father, whom she had loved dearly died when she was quite young. Josey had been a a difficult child and no one, especially her mother had ever forgotten it. Even as an adult, her greatest joy is derived from the junk food she keeps hidden in the back of her closet.
One day Josey returns home to find a strange woman hiding in her closet. Della Lee, tells Josey that she is hiding from her abusive boyfriend and threatens to expose her secret stash of food if she makes her leave. Slowly Della Lee’s presence changes Josey’s life. She encourages her to talk to the local mail man, who Josey had admired for years and clues her in on the fact that she actually looks good in her favorite tight red sweater even though her mother had always told her otherwise. When Della Lee sends Josey to pick up a sandwich at a local cafe she meets Chloe, a young woman with a magical relationship with books. Books just pop up when she least expects them. When Chloe has a fight with her boyfriend, books about relationships and forgiveness just appear. If she throws them away, they just show up some place else.
Through Della Lee and Chloe, Josey learns that she deserves more out of life than staying home taking care of her ungrateful mother. She also learns that the father she had always idolized was less than perfect and that even her mother has secrets. The Sugar Queen has one of those “I didn’t see that coming” ending. It is a quick, light read and is magical as are Sarah Addison Allen’s other books, The Peach Keeper, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and Garden Spells. Give one a try…you will not be disappointed!