Title: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 305 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is a delightfully charming and mystical novel featuring the women of the Waverly family. This heartwarming multi-generation tale is a follow up to Garden Spells, but it can be read as a standalone.
Sisters Claire and Sydney Waverly are as different as night and day, but they share a tight bond. Claire lives in the family home with her husband Tyler and daughter Mariah and she has a thriving candy business. Sydney is married to her childhood friend Henry and they live with teenage daughter Bay on Henry’s dairy farm. Sydney owns a very successful beauty salon but her happiness is marred by her inability to get pregnant and her tempestuous relationship with Bay. As the first frost approaches, all three women struggle to find the happiness that is almost within their reach.
Claire is overwhelmed with the demands of her candy business. She is out of touch with daughter Mariah’s day to day life and she has turned over most of the childcare duties to her loving, but absent-minded husband. Claire has also been forced to take a shortcut with her candy making enterprise that leaves her questioning her special Waverly “gift”. When a stranger comes to town, Claire notices him keeping a close watch on her family home, but what could his sudden appearance possibly mean for her or her family?
Sydney is deliriously happy with Henry but she is almost obsessive about trying to get pregnant again. Henry eagerly stepped in and adopted Bay when he married Sydney and he is content with their family as is. Sydney’s longing for another child is exacerbated by a situation with one of her employees and while the resolution to this part of the storyline seems obvious, there is just enough doubt to keep readers guessing how it will eventually play out.
Bay is a refreshing breath of fresh air and her special gift makes her wise beyond her years. She has an uncanny knack for knowing where things and people belong and she knows she belongs with Josh Matteson. But trying to get Josh to realize this is an almost monumental task. Her effort to get his attention backfired and while she has steadfastly refused to give up on him, Bay is beginning to realize that he might be a lost cause. And unbeknownst to Bay, there is unpleasant history between the Waverly and Matteson families that threatens to derail any chance of a relationship between her and Josh.
All of the various story arcs are brought to their conclusions with the first frost. The first frost is a special and magical time not only for the Waverly women, but also for the extremely unique apple tree that grows on the family property. The apple tree and the women’s special abilities provide a very whimsical touch to the storyline that I greatly enjoyed.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is a captivating story that is fast-paced and engrossing. The various storylines are quite fascinating and the character growth is phenomenal. Heartfelt and engaging with appealing characters, I absolutely adored First Frost and highly recommend it to readers of contemporary fiction.