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9780553384840

The Sugar Queen

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780553384840

  • ISBN10:

    0553384848

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-04-14
  • Publisher: Bantam

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

Summary

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

Author Biography

Sarah Addison Allen lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts

Chapter One



Everlasting Gobstoppers


When Josey woke upand saw the feathery frost on her windowpane, she smiled. Finally, it was cold enough to wear long coats and tights. It was cold enough for scarves and shirts worn in layers, like camouflage. It was cold enough for her lucky red cardigan, which she swore had a power of its own. She loved this time of year. Summer was tedious with the light dresses she pretended to be comfortable in while secretly sure she looked like a loaf of white bread wearing a belt. The cold was such arelief.

She went to the window. A fine sheen of sugary frost covered everything in sight, and white smoke rose from chimneys in the valley below the resort town. Excited, she opened the window, but the sash stuck midway and she had to pound it the rest of the way with the palm of her hand. It finally opened to a rush of sharp early November air that would have the town in a flurry of activity, anticipating the tourists the colder weather always brought to the high mountains of North Carolina.

She stuck her head out and took a deep breath. If she could eat the cold air, she would. She thought cold snaps were like cookies, like gingersnaps. In her mind they were made with white chocolate chunks and had a cool, brittle vanilla frosting. They melted like snow in her mouth, turning creamy and warm.

Just before she ducked her head back inside, she looked down and noticed something strange.

There was a ladder propped against the house, directly underneath her window.

She leaned back in quickly and closed her window. She paused, then she locked it.

She turned and walked to her closet, distracted now. She hadn't heard anything strange last night. The tree trimmers from yesterday must have left the ladder. Yes. That had to be it. They'd probably propped it against the house and then completely forgotten about it.

She opened her closet door and reached up to pull the string that turned on the light.

Then she screamed and backed away, stopping only when she hit her desk and her lamp crashed to the floor.

"Oh for God's sake," the woman sitting on the floor of her closet said, "don't have a cow."

"Josey?" She heard her mother's voice in the hall, then the thud of her cane as she came closer.

"Please don't tell her I'm here," the woman in the closet said, with a strange sort of desperation. Despite the cold outside, she was wearing a cropped white shirt and tight dark blue jeans that sat low, revealing a tattoo of a broken heart on her hip. Her hair was bleached white-blond with about an inch of silver-sprinkled dark roots showing. Her mascara had run and there were black streaks on her cheeks. She looked drip-dried, like she'd been walking in the rain, though there hadn't been rain for days. She smelled like cigarette smoke and river water.

Josey turned her head as her bedroom door began to open. Then, in a small act that changed everything, Josey reached over and pushed the closet door closed as her mother entered the room.

"Josey? What was that noise? Are you all right?" Margaret asked. She'd been a beautiful woman in her day, delicate and trim, blue-eyed and fair-haired. There was a certain power beautiful mothers held over their less beautiful daughters. Even at seventy-four, with a limp from a hip replacement, Margaret could still enter a room and fill it like perfume. Josey could never do that. The closest she ever came was the attention she used to receive when she pitched legendary fits in public when she was young. But that was making people look at her for all the wrong reasons.

"My lamp," Josey said. "It attacked me out of nowhere."

"Oh, well," Margaret said distantly, "leave it for the maid to clean. Hurry up and get dressed. My doctor's appointment is at nine."


Excerpted from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, Sarah Addison Allen
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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