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The Sugar Queen    by Sarah Addison Allen order for
Sugar Queen
by Sarah Addison Allen
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Those of us who enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells can now devour The Sugar Queen, an enchanting story sprinkled with warmth, charm, and magic. Josey Cirrini has a problem. At twenty-seven years of age she has become addicted to sweets. She considers herself The Sugar Queen. She cannot resist sugary candy and sweet cakes. She lives with and cares for her mother, who is domineering and controlling, always treating Josey like a child. After her father died Josey felt like she had to stay with her mother, even though she was left financially stable. Her father was a land developer in their hometown of Bald Slope, North Carolina. Josey loves to escape to her room, where she has a secret compartment in her closet, filled with sweet treats. She feels safe and warm, away from her mother's prying eyes.

One day Josey arrives home to find Della Lee Baker, a waitress from the local Eat and Run diner, hiding in her closet. Della is soaking wet and has bruises on her body. She explains to Josey she has taken a swim in the local river after running away from her abusive husband. Della vows to reveal Josey's sugar secret unless she is allowed to stay in the closet. As the days go by and Della stays hidden, Josey begins to learn a lot about life from their conversations. Della tries to get Josey to leave the sweets alone and eat healthier food. She sends Josey on errands where Josey meets and befriends Chloe, the owner of a sandwich shop. Della gently nudges her into going out socially with Chloe, and insists she knew they would become friends. She tells Josey that at twenty-seven she should be independent of her mother and live her own life. Chloe sets Josey up on a date with a young man she has secretly watched for many years. Now her life is starting to change and her mother takes notice.

Della informs Josey that she knew her father Marco when he was alive. She explains that he kept secrets from Josey and her mother, and lived a different life away from them. Not believing everything Della tells her, Josey begins to investigate her father's past and is surprised at what she learns. Family secrets, long buried, prove to be a blessing for Josey and her life is about to change for the better - all thanks to Della's hiding out in her closet. The Sugar Queen is a heartwarming read with plenty of quirky characters. Once again we are transported into a magical world.

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