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The Sugar Queen

Cover of The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen

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BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper and The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets--and secret passions--are about to change her life forever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night.... Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis--and two parts fairy godmother...

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey's clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she's going to change Josey's life--because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and--most amazing of all--has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time--even for her. It seems that Della Lee's work is done, and it's time for her to move on. But the truth about where she's going, why she showed up in the first place--and what Chloe has to do with it all--is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey' s fast-changing life.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love--and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper and The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets--and secret passions--are about to change her life forever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night.... Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis--and two parts fairy godmother...

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey's clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she's going to change Josey's life--because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and--most amazing of all--has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time--even for her. It seems that Della Lee's work is done, and it's time for her to move on. But the truth about where she's going, why she showed up in the first place--and what Chloe has to do with it all--is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey' s fast-changing life.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love--and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One Everlasting Gobstoppers

    When Josey woke up and saw the feathery frost on her windowpane, she smiled. Finally, it was cold enough to wear long coats and tights. It was cold enough for scarves and shirts worn in layers, like camouflage. It was cold enough for her lucky red cardigan, which she swore had a power of its own. She loved this time of year. Summer was tedious with the light dresses she pretended to be comfortable in while secretly sure she looked like a loaf of white bread wearing a belt. The cold was such a relief.

    She went to the window. A fine sheen of sugary frost covered everything in sight, and white smoke rose from chimneys in the valley below the resort town. Excited, she opened the window, but the sash stuck midway and she had to pound it the rest of the way with the palm of her hand. It finally opened to a rush of sharp early November air that would have the town in a flurry of activity, anticipating the tourists the colder weather always brought to the high mountains of North Carolina.

    She stuck her head out and took a deep breath. If she could eat the cold air, she would. She thought cold snaps were like cookies, like gingersnaps. In her mind they were made with white chocolate chunks and had a cool, brittle vanilla frosting. They melted like snow in her mouth, turning creamy and warm.

    Just before she ducked her head back inside, she looked down and noticed something strange.

    There was a ladder propped against the house, directly underneath her window.

    She leaned back in quickly and closed her window. She paused, then she locked it.

    She turned and walked to her closet, distracted now. She hadn't heard anything strange last night. The tree trimmers from yesterday must have left the ladder. Yes. That had to be it. They'd probably propped it against the house and then completely forgotten about it.

    She opened her closet door and reached up to pull the string that turned on the light.

    Then she screamed and backed away, stopping only when she hit her desk and her lamp crashed to the floor.

    "Oh for God's sake," the woman sitting on the floor of her closet said, "don't have a cow."

    "Josey?" She heard her mother's voice in the hall, then the thud of her cane as she came closer.

    "Please don't tell her I'm here," the woman in the closet said, with a strange sort of desperation. Despite the cold outside, she was wearing a cropped white shirt and tight dark blue jeans that sat low, revealing a tattoo of a broken heart on her hip. Her hair was bleached white-blond with about an inch of silver-sprinkled dark roots showing. Her mascara had run and there were black streaks on her cheeks. She looked drip-dried, like she'd been walking in the rain, though there hadn't been rain for days. She smelled like cigarette smoke and river water.

    Josey turned her head as her bedroom door began to open. Then, in a small act that changed everything, Josey reached over and pushed the closet door closed as her mother entered the room.

    "Josey? What was that noise? Are you all right?" Margaret asked. She'd been a beautiful woman in her day, delicate and trim, blue-eyed and fair-haired. There was a certain power beautiful mothers held over their less beautiful daughters. Even at seventy-four, with a limp from a hip replacement, Margaret could still enter a room and fill it like perfume. Josey could never do that. The closest she ever came was the attention she used to receive when she pitched legendary fits in public when she was young. But that was making people look at her for all the wrong reasons.

    "My lamp," Josey said. "It attacked me out of nowhere."

    "Oh,...
About the Author-
  • Sarah Addison Allen was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. She is the author of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen.

Reviews-
  • Booklist, starred review "Like the most decadently addictive bonbons, once started, Allen's magically entrancing novel is impossible to put down."
  • Publishers Weekly "Bewitching.... Such a pleasurable book."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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