Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper is a standard tale of secrets, gossip and female friendship set in the South. Set in a small town in rural North Carolina, Willa Jackson breaks free of her family’s legacy through a series of high school pranks and later, by running a successful independent business. Paxton Osgood is set up as the classic Southern daughter; dutiful, highly involved in the town’s women society and planning the social event of the season. As Paxton runs into a series of obstacles planning the gala and Willa falls for Paxton’s brother, both women discover they have more in common than they realized.
The book is fairly heavy handed in its discussion of female friendship. Paxton and Willa’s grandmothers bonded over a tragic series of events many years ago, and as those long-buried secrets come to light, Paxton and Willa forge their own bond. A major theme in the book is rediscovering your roots, and your values, by learning to look past shallow distractions like status.