First Frost, by Sarah Addison Allen
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. All content and opinions are my own.
Warning: I loved this book. Loving a book seems to make me unable to coherently express my thoughts about it, but I’m going to give it a try.
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.
First Frost is a sequel to Garden Spells. (Though I have not yet read Garden Spells and got along just fine.) The book is about the various members of the Waverley family, particularly sisters Claire and Sydney and Sydney’s daughter, Bay. The women in the family each have a special gift, like knowing where things belong, giving people things before they know they need them, and cooking things with specific properties. Though the gifts play into their personalities and the story, I loved that this is essentially a story about a regular family dealing with fairly regular things – infertility, first love, work stress, etc.
I think Sarah Addison Allen has a magical way with words and with characters. I was immediately drawn into the story and did not want it to end. Here’s a taste of the language:
“We always celebrate first frost.”
On the day the tree bloomed in the fall, when its white apple blossoms fell and covered the ground like snow, it was tradition for the Waverleys to gather in the garden like survivors of some great catastrophe, hugging one another, laughing as they touched faces and arms, making sure they were all okay, grateful to have gotten through it. It was a relief, putting their world back in order. They always got restless before first frost, giving their hearts away too easily, wanting things they couldn’t have, getting distracted and clumsy and too easily influenced by the opinions of others. First frost meant letting go, so it was always reason to celebrate.
Everything was okay after that.
This is a happy, charming, and quick read I would highly recommend. And if you are in need of a lovely gift for a reader friend, I’d pair Garden Spells and First Frost with some tea.