Book Review: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Title: The Sugar Queen
Series: Standalone
Author: Susan Addison Allen
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Published: 05/21/2008
Publisher: Bantam
Genre(s): Contemporary Fantasy


In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden 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 it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return, she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’ s fast-changing life.

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.


It took me two weeks to finish this small book. I was continually being distracted by other things. I can't say if that was completely due to the book's not holding my interest or because I subconsciously wanted a break from reading. Maybe I simply assigned a higher priority to those other things. It's not like I don't find some fantasy intriguing but I seemed to have more difficulty with the quirky "magic" the characters in The Sugar Queen had versus the other two Sarah Addison Allen books I read: Garden Spells and The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I'm not going to offer any spoilers I just feel these mystical occurrences distracted me from the human emotions and kept me from feeling a strong literary attachment to the characters. I did find the story imaginative and original, just not enough to rate it any higher.