Book Review: First Frost

Posted January 15, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 8 Comments

Book Review: First FrostFirst Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Series: Waverly Family #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 20th, 2015
Genres: adult, magical realism
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

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.

Garden Spells was the second magical realism book I read. The first was The Sugar Queen. Sarah Addison Allen quickly became one of my favorite authors because of the books, particularly the first because I fell in love with the Waverly family. Evanelle, Claire, Sydney, and Bay. Four ladies with strengths, quirks, special gifts, and an unshakable bond. An apple tree that throws apples to get the Waverleys to pay it attention. Claire’s magic with food; it can make you feel a certain way depending on what edible flower is placed in the recipe. Evanelle, who gets urges to give people objects that she knows they will need in the future: a spatula, a brooch, a can opener. Sydney’s way with hair. She can change someone’s mood or luck with the perfect haircut. And Bay. Bay who absolutely knows where everything belongs. She can put silverware away in a stranger’s house without knowing what drawer it goes in, simply because she just knows where to put things, including people. She also knows where she belongs.

With Josh Matteson.

Josh happens to be the son of Emma and Hunter John, and Mattesons and Waverleys go together like oil and water. Hunter John was Sydney’s first everything, and he broke her heart. Waverleys have a reputation in Bascom–everyone knows they are weird, and Hunter John was pressured to marry the right kind of girl, and he caved. Sydney, naturally, doesn’t want the same future for her daughter.

First Frost is the story of Bay and Josh, and I wish we had gotten more of that. There was a whole other storyline that I didn’t particularly care for. There is this stranger that comes to town to con Claire, and I just thought it didn’t fit with the rest of the book. I was okay with it at first, but then when you get all the answers at the end, I felt like it wasn’t properly tied in with the story, and it felt tacked on, almost to make the book more interesting. I thought the execution kind of failed.

And then there was the whole fertility arc with Sydney, and I actually kind of liked that, but again, along came the ending, and something I was supposed to be happy about in the last couple of pages, just made me sad. Sorry, I can’t tell you. But I couldn’t figure out what the author’s intentions were there. Was I supposed to be happy? Sad? Why was it the very last thing we were told which made the book end on kind of a weird note?

I loved the Bay and Josh story though, and it almost felt like I was reading young adult for a bit, which I loved, obviously. I just didn’t get enough of it.

But most of all, I loved being back with the Waverleys. So even though the book was flawed for me, I still enjoyed it for what it was. More time with a family I love. And with the way it ended, there might be room for another book? I hope so.

kara

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