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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Other Birds

ISBN: 978-1250019868

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 08/30/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars + (ARC)

Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways

From Sarah Addison Allen, the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells, Other Birds is an enchanting tale filled with magical realism and moments of pure love that won't let you go.

Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways. Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits―a stunning cobblestone building shaped like a horeshoe and named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother's apartment on Mallow Island, she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. Each with their own story, Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn't written yet.

Buy the Book


"The biggest challenge for the reader is to try to not turn the pages so quickly in order to extend the fun. Intriguing details and magical realism are hallmarks of Allen's fiction, along with a slow-burn mystery that connects the past and present. Once again, she mixes those alluring elements together in the perfect ratio to create an outstanding reading experience. Readers who enjoy a Southern story, a touch of the unexplained, and works by Fannie Flagg and Karen White will all be delighted by this novel."

--Booklist (starred review)

"A lyrical mystery that embraces letting go and living freely."


“Languid and peaceful, gentle and comforting, Allen’s newest showcases her talent for tender stories of near magic. Her fans will be lining up for this.”

--Library Journal

“Allen skillfully weaves the various threads, as vignettes narrated by ghosts of former building residents provide further context as the plot unfurls…This will move readers.”

--Publishers Weekly

"This story is so magical, beautiful and wise, with a wonderful cast of eclectic characters, and even a few ghosts. It filled my heart."

-- Clare Pooley, New York Times bestselling author of THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

"A master of her craft, Sarah Addison Allen draws you in with her whimsy and poetic language, only to lay bare the deep emotional truths of being human. Other Birds captivated me by its utter uniqueness. Is it a ghost story? A fairytale about a girl and her imaginary pigeon? A character study of a motley crew of hard-knocks survivors? It is all these things―along with being one of my favorite books of the year."

-- Colleen Oakley, bestselling author of THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND

"For her latest treasure of a tale, Allen has concocted a mesmerizing cast of characters, all with mysterious pasts and quiet secrets, and placed them in a dreamy Southern resort town famous for its marshmallow candy. It’s a story of community, forgiveness, and the myriad ways the past haunts the present. Absolutely luscious and a true page-tuner."

―Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

“With a dash of her signature magic, Allen dishes up a touching story that hits the sweet spot between heartache and healing. Set in an atmospheric island town, Other Birds interlaces the disappointments and dreams of a group of creative, lonely people who have more in common than they know. And that’s the real magic in this story: the human ability to connect with people and places in meaningful ways that transform our lives.”

―Glendy Vanderah, best-selling author of Where the Forest Meets the Stars and The Light Through the Leaves

"Oh, joy of joys! A new book by Sarah Addison Allen, and Other Birds is her best yet! Dark and sweet, brutal and wise, full of delectable food and plenty of meddling ghosts, and soaked with an abiding tenderness and hope. One of my favorite books this year."

―Barbara O’Neal, author of Write My Name Across the Sky and When We Believed in Mermaids

“This delightful novel is rife with magical realism as Zoey learns what home really means and how helping others can help heal one's own heart, too.”

--Good Housekeeping

“Allen’s gift for whimsical, poetic language, makes Other Birds one of our most-anticipated books for 2022. You’re going to want to read this one with your book club.”

--Reader's Digest

“Tinged with magic, interlaced with loss and longing, each character’s story unfolds in layers creating an intricate puzzle that teases and delights."

--Southern Bookseller Review

“Fans of Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building’ and Netflix’s ‘Dead to Me’ will warm to this quirky tale.”

--Los Angeles Times

My Review

Charming, spellbinding, and entertaining!

Some books come along once in a blue moon that you want to climb in the pages with the characters, visit with them, hang out in their quaint setting and just be for a while.

Sarah Addison Allen's OTHER BIRDS is one of those enchanting, memorable, and magical books. Everyday magic awaits to be discovered in the unlikeliest places.

I have adored Sarah Addison Allen's books since her debut and everyone since. Each book features unforgettable characters, and OTHER BIRDS is one of my favorites.

The author herself has experienced grief and hardship from cancer to the most recent passing of her mother and sister. Her author's note is heart-rendering and makes you want to reach out and hug her for sharing this beautiful story with her fans and readers worldwide.

"I go now to settle in a place where there is always happiness.

But how can I be happy when my soul still needs to fly?"

A dream. A story. An invisible bird named Pigeon.

"Stories aren't fiction. Stories are fabric. They're the white sheets we drape over our ghosts so we can see them. —Roscoe Avanger, Sweet Mallow

Meet Zoey Hennessey, eighteen years old. She is starting college in Charleston, SC, in the fall. She is headed to her new home on Mallow Island with a birdcage in hand.

Mallow Island is a tourist spot due to the book by Roscoe Avanger. Nearby is The Mallow Island Resort Hotel, The Sugar Warehouse, and Historical Trade Street. The town is famous for its marshmallow candy over a century ago.

More importantly, she is moving to Dellawisp Condos (once horse stables) near the Sugar and Scribble Bakery. A beautiful old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe with a wrought iron gate.

Her mother, Paloma used to live here surrounded by the exquisite little turquoise birds called dellawisps. Paloma and her brother had been raised by their grandfather, a birdkeeper. When he died, she and her brother left Cuba on a small boat. Her brother died after a storm. She drifted on a boat and finally met Zoey's older father once in America.

Paloma had only lived in SC four years before Zoey's father retired, and they moved to Tulsa. But Paloma returned with baby Zoey to the same condo that Zoey's father had gifted her.

She has since died and left Zoey the condo and a trust. Her father has remarried a woman who is not so nice. Zoey is glad to be moving away to a new family she will soon meet that is not blood family, but they are often the best kind.

Once she arrives, she meets a quirky cast of neighbors that will become her new family. Frasier, the building manager, Lizabeth Lime and her estranged sister Lucy Lime, Charlotte Lungren (an artist), Mac Garrett a lonely talented chef, a legendary writer, and a few ghosts. Plus, Oliver, a son, will return home. Lucy never leaves her condo and does not like being around people.

Each of Zoey's eccentric, quirky, bohemian-style neighbors has a past and secrets. Then Lizbeth died. She agreed to help clean out the condo for Frasier.

Everyone at the condos is changed by knowing Zoey. There are those haunted by their past and those who cannot move on. They learn from one another and develop a bond. They become family.

Each character has baggage and secrets that have shaped their lives. They soon realize they have a connection between friendship, trust, healing, love, loss, and forgiveness.

What a beautifully written, unique book that transports you to a world of believing there is good and kindness in this world if we take a chance on others.

Magical realism is woven throughout like most of Sarah's books and the food, the stories, the birds, the love and the characters will warm your heart and soul.

Atmospheric, whimsical, and enigmatic. Sarah Addison Allen shows us that between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways. For fans of author Karen White. Highly recommend.

A special thank you to #StMartinsPress and #Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. #SMPInfluencers

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: 08/30/2022

About the Author

Photography credit: Melissa Markis

New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction -- a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility. Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sarah grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature - because, as she puts it, "I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate."

After graduation, her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Sarah's accomplished debut "spellbindingly charming." The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and a New York Times Bestseller.

After publishing four bestselling books in five years, Sarah took a hiatus when she was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at age 39. She returned to writing with her 2014 bestselling Lost Lake. She is now in remission. In 2015, she revisited the popular setting of her first book. First Frost continues the story of the Waverley Sisters from Garden Spells.

With millions of books now in print and translated into more than 30 languages, Sarah continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as "Southern-fried magic realism." Her books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011), Lost Lake (2014), and First Frost (2015). WEBSITE

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