Sarah Addison Allen takes chick lit and mixes it with a pinch of magic and a good dollop of whimsy to give us her second novel, The Sugar Queen. Josey Cirrini is 27 years old, unmarried, living with her mother, and she has a secret. Hidden in her bedroom is a closet filled with all the sweets the sugar queen can’t live without. Mallomars, Little Debbies, candy corn, cookies. She secretly munches on these delights as she waits for the highlight of her day — the arrival of Adam, the hot ex-ski bum who now delivers mail.
One day she opens the door to her secret stash and is startled to find Della Lee, a rough-around-the-edges waitress, who has decided to crash in Josey’s closet indefinitely, hiding from problems of her own. Over time, Della Lee encourages Josey to expand her horizons and literally “get a life” outside of her closet and house.
Allen’s book, Garden Spells, (reviewed here) was a delightful first effort and The Sugar Queen is just as charming. I love the magic interwoven into each of the books (Josey’s friend Chloe attracts books — they literally show up out of the blue and place themselves where she can’t miss them). I also love the detailed artwork on the covers of each book, and the North Carolina setting (one of Josey’s secret treats are Moravian cookies!). An easy, fun read that is highly recommended. Update 4/26/2010: Read a review of Allen’s newest book, The Girl Who Chased the Moon here.