Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

What They Say.....26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good. 

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life. 

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

What I Say.....I have mixed emotions about this book.  I love magical realism, and I was hoping to find a new favorite author.  But this almost felt like a mix of two different books - or like two people wrote it and then tried to merge it into one book.

The story begins with Rachel granting a wish for her goddaughter without realizing that she had done.  The little girl's wish was for a unicorn and a pony with an ice cream cone attached to her forehead appeared on their front porch.  It felt a little odd, like there was no set up for it.  I was wondering how she made the wish happen - as in the how she does it and then why it was a horse with an ice cream cone attached to it's head.  It just didn't flow well - it felt very abrupt.

Rachel jumps in the car and drives until she runs out of gas in Nowhere, North Carolina.  There's an old woman named Catch watching her from her front yard who invites her in to stay.   

Catch has been an honorary mother to the neighborhood hottie and introductions and attraction commence.  I liked the relationship between Rachel and Ashe - and the relationship between Rachel and Catch, especially as Rachel learns about Catch's magic and how to use her own.

I liked the characters, I liked the book okay, but the flow just felt really off at times.  It seemed like a light, entertaining read at times, but then you had this dark undercurrent of the storyline of how Rachel wishing her brother away when she was young, resulting in her mother's eventual suicide and her estrangement from her father.  It just felt like a rough transition in a storyline.

Honestly, I don't know if it was just me, because the other reviews on Goodreads are very strong.  I'd love to hear from others what they thought.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.09

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