Monday, February 16, 2015

First Frost

Title: First Frost
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 20, 2015

Cover Impressions: Pretty, Pretty, Pretty.  I got an advance ecopy of this book but the cover makes me want to run out and buy one for my shelf.  I LOVE the colors, the lights in the background, the light dusting of frost on the apple - SWOON!  I am a huge fan of covers that become more and more interesting as you read the novel and start to understand the meaning behind each image and this is definitely one of those books. 

The Gist:
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.

All right, get prepared for gushing.  I LOVE Sarah Addison Allen.  I have read everything that she has written and am pretty sure that I will soon be embarking on a re-read because I loved this book so much.  She is a master at creating worlds where a touch of magic is just accepted.  Which is total genre kryptonite for me.  I love when magic just IS - the family that is just a little bit odd, on edge of society but relied on by even the most noteworthy and standoffish citizen in their time of need.  My love is doubled with this also includes a beautiful old house that has been in the family for generations and holds a magic all of its own.

Speaking of the house.  First Frost has a house that is actually one of my favorite characters.  It runs hot and cold depending on its mood, it locks people out and responds to threats of violence.  It has a remarkable apple tree that blooms during the first frost and throws apples at those people who fall out of its favor.  Sarah Addison Allen has a remarkable way of creating a home that makes me long to crawl through the pages in order to live there.

The characters are wonderful.  We first met them in Garden Spells.  Now, Bay is a teenager and the sisters (Sydney and Claire) are struggling with a whole new set of problems.  The family is so sweet and loving that I could read about them for the next 10 novels.  (How about it SAA?  Can I have 10 Waverly novels?)
As always, the writing is just lovely and it has some of the most beautiful imagery.  Even the villain of the novel has a story that steals your heart.  A must read for fans of the author or lovers of magical realism.   

Notable Quotables: Simmering soup on a cold day was like filling a house with cotton batting.  The comforting scent of it plumped and muffled and cuddled.


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