Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press & Netgalley for this ARC!
If you’ve never read a Sarah Addison Allen book, it’s like being embraced by a big warm hug. The kind of hug that is tight, comfortable, and one you sink into. Garden Spells was a book recommended to me years ago, and one I read and received the same feelings towards. First Frost takes readers back to the Waverley family, and it was like seeing old friends who I haven’t heard from in a long time.
First Frost focuses mostly on Bay and Claire Waverley, particularly Bay’s mysterious abilities of being able to know an item or person’s place, and Claire, who has decided to pursue a new venture in candy. Sarah Addison Allen’s books will make you hungry, as food is always a huge part of the narrative — there was one line in particularly that made me giggle, which was about a tree that threw apples. Both Bay and Claire are delightful to follow, each with their own passions and problems. But I loved them just the same.
Sarah Addison Allen always makes family a huge part of her stories, and First Frost is no exception. One thing she manages to avoid that other authors often pitfall themselves in is the level of melodrama, which doesn’t exist here. A lot of the emotion the story deals with is raw and yet very subtle, while the magical elements really pop and shine. The romances in the story made me so happy, because the author does an amazing job showing the give in the take, plus I loved Josh — He was adorable clueless in some ways.
I could ramble on about First Frost, but I really don’t want to spoil it for people. Was it necessary to revisit the Waverley’s? Not really. Was a happy to? Absolutely. Sarah Addison Allen’s books make you want a warm blanket and a cup of tea, and being able to see old friends and where they are at in life was pleasurable enough for me.