By Allyssa Lee
Updated May 16, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen’s follow-up to her 2007 best-seller, Garden Spells, hews to the same formula: In a North Carolina town that holds enough magic to seem quirky but not ridiculous, a talented young woman settles for a staid life even as she’s intrigued by a cute, mysterious man. This time, Josey Cirrini is the unassuming beauty (with a massive sweet tooth) whose kinship with some eccentric townsfolk helps her escape from her tyrannical mother. Though less enchanting than Garden and more predictable, Queen still offers sincere relationship insight. It’s like a dessert you’d scorn for being too sweet but would devour anyway. B