The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (Hodder & Stoughton General Division)
Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life.

But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight.

And a neighbour, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes; not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever.

Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

My Thoughts:
I discovered Sarah Addison Allen’s debut novel, Garden Spells, as a young, eager bookseller two years ago; when I still judged books (prudently) by their covers.  Garden Spells was a book that opened my eyes to a new type of fiction; edible fiction.

Allen’s The Time Traveller’s Wife-esque novel was devoured one Sunday wrapped up in my duvet and half a mug of cold tea at the foot of my bed.  I was in love and haven’t missed a novel yet.  Her next was Sugar Queen, just as succulent as the first. This one, The Girl who Chased the Moon (soon to be in paperback) will make you want to run out and buy a cake. And let’s not forget her long awaited new one due April 2011, The Peach Keeper.

The Girl who Chased the Moon is an incredibly quick read.  It is no longer than 272 pages, soft cover and one of the most amazing jacket treatments I have seen on a book.  I was two pages in and smitten with this author, her writing is flow-able and an almost-perfect word for this book, scrumptious.

Emily is a seventeen year old girl who has just lost her mother, so she ventures off to find her mother’s only living relative – Emily’s Grandfather, whom she has never met.

Emily finds herself standing before the house of Vance Shelby, her Grandfather, in a small town called Mullaby North Carolina, a town full of oddities.

If things aren’t hard enough for Emily in a new town with no friends, she soon discovers her mother, Dulcie, wasn’t the respectable activist Emily knew her to be.  Why did her mother run away from Mullaby? And why did she never mention her past to Emily?

The Coffey family, a well-off family in Mullaby has a strange and unhappy connection to Emily’s mother and no one is willing to talk about it.

Sarah Addison Allen puts forth the most magical and absurdly beautiful characters together and one of them is Vance Shelby, an 8 foot Giant – a real life gentle giant.  A town full of secrets, a room where the wallpaper changes to suit the mood of anyone who walks in and there are mysterious lights jumping around the garden at night.

The house next door introduces us to Julia Winterson, a baker, who has recently returned to Mullaby. After the death of her father, Julia returns to Mullaby (the town she fled years ago) to amend the crippling debt of her father’s diner.

She has a plan to pay off the debt, sell the diner and return to Baltimore, but Sawyer Anderson let her go once and won’t let it happen again. Sawyer has an insatiable sense of smell; he can smell sweet goodies baking from miles away (He calls it his Sweet Sense) and Julia is the best baker in Mullaby.

Deliciously descriptive, weaving romances have you grinning and intriguing secrets are running wild in this little town of Mullaby.

A warning: make sure you have a cake baked and ready for eating because you will want to dip into anything sweet as you turn each page.

My Favourite Quote: "...a sad sort of vulnerability was wafting from her, making the night smell like maple syrup."

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