First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I genuinely enjoyed this novel, read it in three hours flat - simply just didn't want to put it down. The story is compelling, the characters are lovable, even when they aren't supposed to be, and the plot has plenty of momentum. It's listed as Waverly #2 and I wondered if that would hinder my connection to the story, but I found that I didn't need to read Waverly #1 to enjoy this book. Don't let that make you shy away.
I won First Frost on a Goodreads giveaway. Sarah Addison Allen never fails to create characters I really enjoy and a story line that is amusing and lovable. I enjoyed her novel The Peach Keeper of which I randomly picked up in the airport, and when this contest came about, I immediately entered. I was thrilled that I won, and now that I've read the book, cherish this even more so.
The Waverly sisters are peculiar at best, yet the peculiarities are what make the reader swoon for their gifts. Claire's way with food, Sydney's way with hair, Bay's way with order - I would't mind possessing one or all of the traits. I envied the way the women lived their lives doing what made them happy - I think that's the true root of this lovely little novel - do what makes you happy. (Of course, you have to be able to make a living). The house was a unique character unto itself and as a person that is fascinated with "antique" homes, I loved its quirks, its warnings, its sympathy. The endearing husbands in this novel (and one possible boyfriend) learned long ago to accept the Waverly women for exactly what they are, and this simple approach to love made the novel that much more romantic. This is a sweet, lovely read.
October has descended upon Bascom, North Carolina, but as is its custom, this time of year brings conflict to the Waverly sisters. The women become antsy as temperatures start to drop waiting for their mystical apple tree that blooms only in the frost to make its yearly debut. Claire, the older of the Waverly sisters has made a a name for herself by developing a business from the secrets of their garden: Waverly Candies. Each hand-crafted candy is said to impact the consumer is a specific way - rose for love, lavender for happiness, lemon verbana to sooth and calm. But, as many people find when they turn their hobby into a business, the demand of keeping up with orders, especially after a debut in "Southern Living," Claire is losing her love for crafting these treats. Her joy is consumed by hours of standing in front of a stove stirring and flavoring sugar. This loveless process starts wearing on her, making her doubt her Waverly charm.
Her sister Sydney is also feeling the effects of the coming season. She is struggling to find her true footing after leaving an abusive marriage. And even though she's rooted herself back in Waverly with a beautiful daughter and doting husband, she feels incomplete. She longs to give her perfect soul mate a child and the more she wants this, the more this desire turns to duty; the pleasure of herself simply wasting away. And to further complicate Sydney's woes, her daughter Bay has set her sights on the one boy in town Sydney never wanted her to love.
Adding fuel to a brimming fire, a mysterious man shows up trying to take away the very claim of magic in the Waverly household. They must hold fast to each other in order to halt a destruction of epic portions to their lives, their family, and the essence of what makes them Waverly women.
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