First Frost: a novel by Sarah Addison Allen. New York: St. Martin"s Griffin, 2014. 294 pages. About the Author: Author's Note; Food for Thought: Recipes; Keep on Reading: Reading Group Questions; Special Extra: Chapter 17. *****
The story opens with the two sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverley settled in Bascom, North Carolina with their families and quiet lives. The Waverley women are known for their "special" gifts and as Fall approaches are made restless by the mischievous apple tree in the backyard of the family home. The first frost of the season brings a special magic and cause for celebration, but this year seems to take forever to appear and everyone is on edge. Claire has transformed her catering business into a new venture, Waverley Candies, which seem to promote happiness and other pleasant side effects at the cost of her own joy and self-fulfillment. Sydney, while successful at her salon, longs for a baby boy and a son for her husband. The two sisters love and support each other and have joined in raising their daughters, each feel as if something is missing in their lives. A stranger enters the town, asks questions of the family and threatens to disturb their reputation and standing in the community. Each sister must look within for the truth about themselves and each other.
Reading Allen is like greeting an old friend, sitting down and catching up on what's new. Her characters become your friends and you want to jump in the car and visit wherever they live. First Frost is the sequel to Garden Spells, it can be read as a stand-alone, but you won't want to. Allen has such a way with words that the reader can sense the tension in the air and knows that something is coming with the first frost and nothing will be the same again. This paperback edition had an "Extra" chapter in it, the author decided one of the characters needed a "happy ending" so she added it. No spoiler here, I won't say who discovered her wings and flew! I recommend all of her books if you want to be entertained and transported to another place, her prose is lyrical and the plot is never predictable.
I won a free paperback copy of this book from the author in a Facebook contest.
Sarah Addison Allen is the New York Times best-selling author of garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Peach Keeper, and Lost Lake. She was born and raised in Ashville, North Carolina. Visit her web site at www.sarahaddisonallen.com.