Wednesday, February 4, 2015

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen: A Sequel to Garden Spells

If you haven't read Garden Spells, go no further.  You must read it before you read First Frost.  Alright.  Now that I've got the warning out of the way, I'll tell you about First Frost.

The Waverly sisters are back:  Claire and Sydney.  It's been ten years since the end of Garden Spells, and a lot has happened.  Yes, they're still in Bascom, North Carolina.  And yes, the apple tree in the back yard still throws apples at people (most specifically men).  But I can't tell you anymore because that would spoil Garden Spells!

As you may have guessed from previous posts over the years, I love Sarah Addison Allen.  Her books sprinkle a bit of magical realism into my life, and
mixed into that is a heap of Southern charm that I can't resist.  Add in the complexities of sisterhood, and I'm hooked.  I wish Bascom really did exist, because I'd probably live there.  First Frost  is charming and delightful, and leaves me thinking maybe, just maybe, there could be third book featuring the Waverly sisters.  I was happy to leave Garden Spells where it ended; but clearly that was silly of me.  As soon as I found out about First Frost, I was counting down the days before I could grab a copy and dive back into Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world. 

 My blog didn't exist when Garden Spells was published in 2007, so here's a quick rundown:  Claire Waverly lives in Bascom, North Carolina and runs a catering business.  Her sister Sydney arrives back in town with her young daughter, Bay, on the run from an abusive husband.  It's been years since Sydney left town, and there's a divide between the sisters.  Add to this the reputation in town of the Waverly women.  It's rumored (and true) that each Waverly woman has some kind of peculiar "gift".  For Claire, it's her ability to create dishes that use flowers.  Each flower's specific meaning results in a dish that will evoke certain feelings in anyone who eats it.  Sydney's gift is quirky:  she can give you the best hair cut and style you've ever had.  It will fill you with confidence, and have everyone give you a second glance.  It may change your life.

Can the sisters forgive and forget the past?  And what about love?  Garden Spells  was such a delightful read that it still remains one of my favorite books. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves cooking, flowers and gardens, whimsy, books about sisters, and contemporary novels with a touch of something special.  And when you're done reading it, dive into First Frost.  It doesn't have the same punch of Garden Spells, but it is a sweet novel that will answer questions and have you enjoy revisiting the Waverly sisters.  You probably won't want to leave, either. 

Rating:  7/10 for a welcome visit with the Waverly sisters.  Happily ever after takes work, and that's what I loved about this novel.  

Available in hardcover, audio, and e-book.  

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