Review: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The Sugar Queen
is a sweet little title, both literally and metaphorically. This cosy romance, tinged with a little magical realism tells the story of Josey, an unappreciated young woman whose entire life revolves around being a carer for her cold and distant--but exceptionally wealthy--mother. Stuck in a small town with an entire population that hates her and lacking any kind of meaningful social contact, Josey finds her world upended first by the arrival of Helena, a housekeeper with magical talents and then by the discovery that tough talking local Della Lee is hiding out in her closet. Soon Josey finds herself running errands for Della Lee, all of which seem to be changing her life for the better ... suddenly Josey is developing a strong friendship with local restaurant owner Chloe, and finding the confidence to speak with her crush, local mailman Adam. But why is Della Lee so interested in her welfare? And why does she never seem to leave the closet?

This is a fun read. There are lots of little bits of magical realism that feel very cute and quirky--for example, books follow Chloe around, and it is very clear that there might be something magical going on where Della Lee is concerned. Although there are some sad moments, this one still has a very safe, cosy feel about it as we watch Josey grow and evolve, changing from an adult with the mindset of a young teenager, to a woman who can stand on her own two feet. The writing is very light and I was able to read it in just a couple of sittings. I enjoyed the early winter setting in the small mountain town.

Recommended.

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