Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: January 20, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Peach Keeper
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
In the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, the Waverleys are known for their eccentricities.  Rumor has it that all the women in the family have "special gifts."  There's Claire Waverley, a talented cook, who has started a popular candy business that people find intoxicatingly good. Then there's Sydney, a hairdresser, who is very popular and has that special touch that people drive miles and miles for, and lastly there's Sydney's daughter Bay. She knows where everything belongs, a feng shui expert in the making.  Except the Waverley women, just like everyone else, have problems deep down. Claire doesn't really want to give up her catering business, Sydney has been unable to have a second child, and Bay is a bit of a social outcast at school. Then a mysterious man enters their world and shakes it up a bit. The Waverley women must rely on each other like never before. Sarah Addison Allen's First Frost is a charming read that fans of Allen will enjoy. There's Allen's signature magic interwoven into the pages, a sleepy southern town, strong family ties and a mysterious stranger, which makes for a delightful read.

I really enjoyed the Waverley sisters in First Frost. I love how Allen incorporates "magic" into this book, but without making it feel overly fantastical. She gives each sister a "gift." It reminded me a bit of Practical Magic, which is a compliment! I found myself gravitating towards Bay's story. (What can I say?! I love a good YA story). Although I liked Claire and Sydney's story, it was Bay's that held my attention the longest and the one I was most invested in.

The incorporation of the mysterious man in First Frost I'm sure was necessary for the plot, but I found myself a bit bored by his entrance. The stranger, otherwise known as the Great Bandit, has the women question their family and the history of their family, but I wasn't too overly invested in that plot line.  I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read Garden Spells, Allen's other novel where the Waverley women first appear.

Allen's writing is beautiful and very lyrical in First Frost. There were a few lines that I definitely wanted to marinate in. So, needless to say, if you are fan of Allen or women's fiction, definitely check out First Frost this winter, especially if you are looking for something light. 


12 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm so excited about this one -- and even more excited that it's a continuation of Garden Spells, which I read almost a decade ago and loved. Think I might need a refresher on the characters, though! And that cover is gorgeous.

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    1. I wish I read Garden Spells first, Meg! I think I would have enjoyed this book even more. You will be excited to revisit the characters….such a fun story! Let me know what you think after you read it and I agree…the cover is one of my favorites of 2015. Thanks for dropping by!

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  2. Christina, I really enjoyed Garden Spells; definitely a great comparison you've made to Practical Magic - I completely agree! I knew you'd be reading this one, from one of your lists, and I'm glad you've enjoyed it. It's not thrilling material (definitely can get boring, at times), but I thought the story of the sisters was sweet. Thanks so much for the review!

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    1. I wish I read Garden Spells first! It seems like I am missing out since I didn't. So many people love that book! Yes, as I was reading it, I kept thinking of Practical Magic…one of my favorite movies. (I've never read the book..shame on me!) Anyway, I agree that Allen's books are charming and sweet…not something that will necessarily "wow" you, but something that is entertaining and feel-good. I hope you get to read this one soon! Thanks for visiting, Tara!

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  3. I've enjoyed her other books so I think I'll like this one too.

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    1. I hope so, Linda! If you are a fan, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Thanks for visiting!

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  4. Do I have to read First Frost to enjoy this one? It does sound like Hoffman's Practical Magic.

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    1. Doesn't it? I have never read the book, but I love the movie. I didn't read Garden Spells (the first book), but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I did. So, I would recommend reading Garden Spells first to fully appreciate it. Thanks for visiting, Joy!

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  5. I've always been intriqued by this author. Thanks for the honest review!

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    1. She is a really unique author. I like the way she combines contemporary fiction with some magical elements. Plus, her southern settings are pretty great. Thanks for visiting, Carrie!

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  6. I liked this one but prefer Garden Spells. It was nice to reconnect with the characters. I hope you get a chance to read Garden Spells soon. I think I liked Bay's story the most too.

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  7. You had me at Practical Magic.

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I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

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