1.26.2015 | Monday

First Frost

category: Book Reviews

First Frosttitle: First Frost
author: Sarah Addison Allen
series: Waverly Family #2
published: 20 January 2015
publisher: St. Martin's Press
genre(s): magical realism, romance
pages: 305
source: NetGalley
format: eARC
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | Goodreads

rating: five-stars | series rating: five-stars

the blurb

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

First Frost picks up several years after the magical Garden Spells.  Things have changed for the Waverly women, and little Bay is in high school now.  Magic is still afoot and it is so delightful to read each Waverly’s journey with the family magic and how it works for each of them.

I like that these books don’t focus on just one of the Waverlys, but weaves the stories of all of them together.  Even the stories of Evanelle and Loralei stories are told in Frost Frost, despite the distant relation of Evanelle and the fact that Loralei is long since past.  We even learn a bit about Mary, the grandmother of Sydney and Claire.  All of their stories have a piece of the Waverly magic, manifested in different ways and used in different ways.

I love this author’s writing!  Like everything she has written, there is a little bit of magic, a little bit of whimsy, a lot of love, and no small amount of intrigue.  The apple tree in the garden of the Waverly home is as magical as ever, ready to be celebrated again as it blooms, atypically, at first frost.  First frost is a big deal to this family, almost a time of renewal as all the craziness that has been building comes to an end when the tree blooms again!

This is an amazing read and I highly recommend it.  In fact, I recommend everything by Sarah Addison Allen!

About Sarah Addison Allen

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, Allen 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, Allen began writing seriously. 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 Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

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