In her debut novel, Season of the Dragonflies, Sarah Creech delivers a masterful portrayal of sisterly sibling rivalry, Southern style. Creech’s own experience growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a house brimming with women storytellers with a penchant for the mystical inspired the novel’s setting and plot, which unfolds as the latest generation of Lenore women are swept up into a fragrant family crisis.

The unflappable family matriarch, Willow, is increasingly beset by bouts of forgetfulness, while her eldest daughter, Mya, is enjoying an affair with a younger man. But the real trouble begins when Mya’s younger sister, Lucia, suddenly returns home, throwing the family dynamics asunder with the arrival of the prodigal daughter. Both Willow and Mya soon forgive her long absence from the fold, but a joy-filled family reunion is not in the cards for the Lenore women. 

As manufacturers of a secret fragrance that has magically launched the careers of famous and successful women for decades, the Lenore women are now facing a perfumery Armageddon: The rare and mystical plants that supply the perfume’s fragrant elixir are dying. To make matters worse, two of the Lenore family’s celebrity clients in Hollywood are embroiled in a bitter feud over a movie role, with one temperamental diva threatening blackmail.

While Creech’s rollicking narrative is reason enough to keep readers riveted, she also displays a gift for describing the glorious natural terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But perhaps the novel’s most laudable achievement is a surprise ending, resplendent with the best and worst that life has to offer, as Creech bravely resists the temptation to pen a neatly tied conclusion to this vibrant tapestry of family love. Fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman will welcome this new literary voice.

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