Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Book: First Frost

Series: Waverley Family 

Author: Sarah Addison Allen

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 291 Pages

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased at Chapters

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spellscomes 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.

God I missed the Waverley family. I didn't even know that I had missed them until I started this book, but g o d I missed them so much. First Frost is a companion to SAA's Garden Spells, which totally stole my heart. While Garden Spells revolves around Claire and Sydney, the Waverley sisters, First Frost takes place years in the future, and focuses more on Bay, Sydney's daughter. 

Sarah Addison Allen writes the best magical realism i've ever read. Actually, probably the best magical realism ever, period. The worlds she creates are so vivid and the magic makes them almost hyper realistic, as if it's obvious that there is magic in our world, but we're just not looking close enough. The magic that the sisters have isn't Harry Potter or Wizard level. It's in the way food is cooked, how when Bay runs by, everyone knows exactly where they belong - it's the magic apple tree that only blooms on First Frost. God that magic is so intoxicating.

I hadn't realized that I missed Claire and Sydney until I started reading First Frost. I haven't read a SAA book since her last novel, First Frost, and I had forgotten how great her characters are. They get under your skin in the best way possible. They nestle their way into your heart, or at least they found their way into mine, and I don't think they'll be letting go anytime soon. Her characters and the characters in Rainbow Rowell's books are very similar, in my mind. They're all realistically flawed, but they aren't defined by their flaws entirely, or by their successes. They are who they are, and you love them for it.

The plots of SAA's books have always been interesting, but never the main focus, but with this one? I was sucked in. I needed to know what was going to happen with Claire. Bay's storyline had me on the edge of my seat. And who is that newcomer that's staying at the inn, and what does he want with the Waverly family? These questions raised the stakes in the book, and while it all could have fallen flat, it soared.

I love Sarah Addison Allen, and I feel  like this was exactly the book to read at the point where i'm at now. I just finished my semester, and I needed to get back into reading things on my own terms. I loved it. I highly suggest you read this one. It's enchanting, and captivating, and every other positive adjective you can think of.

5/5 stars

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