Friday, March 6, 2015

Review: First Frost

First Frost
By Sarah Addison Allen
Published: January 20, 2015

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves...

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

My review:

I loved Garden Spells so I was thrilled to revisit the Waverley family in First Frost. Set ten years after the first book, Bay is now a teenager and unlike Sydney and Claire, she is certain and confident in her identity as a Waverley. Each of the Waverley's has a special gift and Bay's is the ability to know where things (and people) belong. That is how she realizes that she and Josh Matteson belong together even if he doesn't seem to feel the same way. 

Sydney doesn't approve once she finds out because she doesn't want her daughter to be hurt the way she was when Josh's father broke up with her all those years ago. Now Sydney is happily married to Henry but she wants a baby so badly and it doesn't appear to be in the cards for her. It is eating her up inside but she isn't able to talk about it with anyone, least of all Henry. Claire also has troubles and she is beginning to doubt her gift as a Waverley and her decision to go into candy making which is leaving her exhausted. A visit from a stranger who insinuating that he knows a big secret about Claire certainly doesn't help matters.

I enjoyed catching up on the Waverley clan in First Frost and I really liked reading the parts about Bay but I thought this book wasn't quite as magical as Garden Spells. The setting is still interesting. The Waverley house has a life of its own as does the apple tree in the garden. I liked the idea of first frost and how it affected the Waverleys. I also liked the closeness of the family and how proud Bay is to be a Waverley. It takes guts to be different from the other kids at school. I think what didn't work as well for me was the whole storyline with the stranger and how things are resolved.

Overall I liked First Frost. It was a pleasant reading experience and I think readers who enjoy books set in the South and don't mind a touch of magical realism should give Sarah Addison Allen's books a try. I suggest starting with Garden Spells before reading this one.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley


  1. I read this a while ago and liked the touch of magic in it.

  2. Fantastic review, Christina! I really, really regret not reading Garden Spells before this book. Although I enjoyed First Frost, I feel like I would have appreciated it more if I had read Garden Spells first. I love how the author incorporates magic in her books and the southern settings are always my favorite. I hope to check out her other work in the future. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  3. First Frost was a slower start for me but the magic kicked in eventually. The strange man line didn't do it for me either. I loved Garden Spells too but like you said this was still a nice read :)

  4. I really want to read this one, but I keep putting it off - thinking "I must re-read Garden Spells first!". I love SAA's novels. They're like chocolate. You have a little and you just want more. Delicious!


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