From the New York Times bestselling author of GARDEN SPELLS comes 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.
Sissy: I absolutely loved this book. It is my favorite kind of read because it has a little bit of very subtle magic in it.
Bubby: Like the magic apple-throwing tree?
Sissy: Precisely. I wish I had that tree at my house, because it likes to throw apples at men, in particular, and I find that amusing. Also, there were a few different storylines of romance, there’s a smidge of mystery, but the way everything is woven together draws you in and engages you in the way only Sarah Addison Allen can do.
Bubby: I remember how much I enjoyed Garden Spells when it came out a few years ago. I was so happy to see a return to the Waverly family in First Frost. Our guaranteed happy ending is very much present, but it’s not exactly what I had anticipated, which in a way almost makes it better.
Sissy: I’m fascinated with the fact that each Waverly woman has some sort of “gift”, such as knowing where things belong, which is Bay’s gift, or Sydney’s ability to make dreams come true through her hair styling. Anyway, I think I have the gift of knowing the answer to all of Bubby’s questions, unless they involve sports.
Bubby: Or cooking…but of course I already know everything in that arena and wouldn’t ask you anyway…
Sissy: Because you’re a food snob and you don’t want to admit that I’m a very talented baker. Your gift is being a cooking snob.
Bubby: You do make delicious cookies and healthful dinners. But just as I have a lovely voice and sing quite well, I pale in comparison to you in that area. As you do in comparison to my cooking. Moving on now. I learned recently that this type of story actually has it’s own genre – magical realism. I believe that there is magic of one sort or another to be found in everyone’s life and I’m fond of stories that just amplify that magic into something more real and tangible. When you’re done reading First Frost you just lean back and sigh contentedly. It’s that kind of story.
Sissy: Then magical realism is my new favorite genre! I always enjoy a book that has a few different related storylines going on at once that converge together into a perfect resolution. It kind of reminds me of a Maeve Binchy story (which is high praise). I just wish there were 500,000 books like First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen at my fingertips. I would be in literary hog-pig heaven.
Bubby: “Hog-pig”. One of those terms Dad used to use that should now be retired and never used again, thank you very muchly. The best part of First Frost is the characters. I fell in love with them in Garden Spells and grew to cherish them even more in First Frost. The Waverly women feel like family. I can’t recommend First Frost highly enough. Give yourself a well-deserved treat and go read it!
Sissy: How about hog-puking pig dog?
Bubby: You’re ruining the moment here.
Sissy: Okay. Sorry. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is the perfect embodiment of our mission here at Bubble Bath Books headquarters. It’s the kind of book that I would recommend to my adult nieces Melani and Pania because I know exactly how much they would adore it. You will too, readers. It is just as the synopsis says: “a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves…”
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