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The Sugar Queen

Cover of The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.
    Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her 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 her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey's narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that's just for starters.
    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.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.
    Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her 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 her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey's narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that's just for starters.
    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.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.
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    • 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-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      May 5, 2008
      Allen’s second bewitching offering (after Garden Spells
      ) is a candy jar of magical characters and mystical adventures set in an ordinary North Carolina town. At 27, Josey Cirrini is “plain and just this side of plump” and trying to make up for her legendary childhood temper tantrums by caring for her aging, widowed mother Margaret. Her closet features neatly stacked junk food packages and romance novels, and her life chugs along. But as the book opens, Della Lee Baker, waitress at the local greasy spoon, shows up in Josey’s closet, having propped a ladder against the house and climbed silently in overnight. She’s hiding from someone or something, and has no intention of leaving anytime soon. Instead, the very direct Della Lee sends Josey on a series and missions and misadventures that encourage our low self-esteem heroine to step outside her box and away from her snack-filled closet. As in Allen’s previous work, there’s an element of the supernatural (self-help books that literally follow one around; tears that sprout mysterious tropical flowers), and again it works. Words such as sweet
      , charming
      and delightful
      are weak accolades for such a pleasurable book.

    • 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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