Please don't hate me for my failure to imagine a more witty title to this post. As I mentioned yesterday, I need to stop over-thinking and start posting, so for now this title will have to suffice.
On to the book!
The Peach Keeper popped up on my Kindle over a year ago. It was a purchase by dear old mum, and while initially I wasn't that intrigued, I can attest that Allen's book is a real gem. Perhaps it's a pitfall of buying books directly through the Kindle (the non-color version) but I didn't have a clue what the book was about and there wasn't a pretty cover to spark my interest either. Which I guess goes to show you can never judge a book by its cover if it doesn't have one.
Peach Keeper tells the story of two thirty-year-old women, Paxton and Willa, who grow to become great friends by the story's end. Set in the town of Walls of Water, N.C., the area is picturesque in size - quaint and historic to outsiders, but constricting to its native residents because of the gossipy, pack-like mentality of the inhabitants. Paxton, the seemingly perfect daughter of a socialite, struggles through planning the anniversary gala of the local women's club, with plenty of pressure from her overbearing mother. Despite growing up in town, Willa always felt displaced, an outcast. Though some of her feelings are somewhat self-imposed, her feelings of discontent allowed her to blossom in adulthood and take ownership of her life after the death of her father.
When the gala brings the two together, both Paxton and Willa begin to realize the importance and necessity of true, unfiltered, unwavering friendship. Both characters also form romantic relationships within the book, and while those are enriching for both girls, Allen allows their friendship to take center stage. What comes to pass over the course of the book can only be described as awesome. Both women find the strength in themselves and each other to learn more about their grandmother's shared past and use the new-found knowledge to change the course of the women's club for the better.
Alongside the two central characters are some quirky supporting characters - Willa's shop girl, Paxton's brother, and Paxton's friend Sebastian. And despite being confined to a nursing home, the grandmothers provide some much needed wisdom for both the girls. I'm sure the story could have benefited from more description about the town, but when the heart of the story is friendship it's important for readers to believe it could take place in any old small town.
I just re-read this book last week (for the purposes of this post) and must say it was like welcoming back an old friend. The Peach Keeper has earned a spot on my list of go-to female friendship books.