Saturday, March 7, 2015

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

I love Sarah Addison Allen's books.  I love the magic and the sweetness contained in each one.  And I love that delicious food always plays such a big part of the story.  First Frost is her most recent novel and it did not disappoint.  As a sequel to Garden Spells, her first and my favorite of her books, I was worried it might not be able to stand up to the comparison.  I was very pleased that this was not the case.

In First Frost, we rejoin the Waverly sisters ten years after the events in Garden Spells.  As a result, this review is certain to contain spoilers for the first book, so please don't read on if you hate spoilers as much as I do.

Claire and Sydney have each married and are living happily with their new families.  Sydney has joined Henry on his dairy farm along with her daughter Bay.  Claire and Tyler are living in the Waverly house with their daughter Mariah.  Claire is no longer catering, but has begun a very successful candy business.  Her success, however, doesn't necessarily bring her happiness.  Claire finds herself working non-stop to fill the orders that keep pouring in to her website, even with help from a culinary student and her niece Bay.  Sydney now owns the salon where she first began styling hair when she moved back to Bascom.  I was thrilled to see that Evanelle is still with us in this book.  In Garden Spells, she is frequently described as frail so the fact that she has made it another ten years was a relief to me.  And I was thrilled to see that she is still up to her usual antics, giving away random things that people will desperately need in the not-too-distant future.  Fred is still living in her attic apartment and they are such lovely friends.  I adore their relationship.

In this new book, Claire's success attracts the attention of someone wishing to take his own slice of the cake, though it is completely undeserved.  This man is a swindler and he makes no excuse for what he is to the reader.  He has had a hard life of his own and while the reader certainly won't like him, it is difficult to harbor too much hostility toward him.

Bay is also undergoing her own growing pains.  While she has none of the expected, cliched concerns with fitting in in high school (one more reason to love her character), she does have the struggle of knowing that there are big things in store for her and her Waverly gift, but still having to wade through the high school years and all its trivialities.

I love that in this book we get to see more of the relationship between Sydney and Claire.  Sydney is a much stronger person, but she still needs a lot of help and reassurance from Claire.  She wishes sometimes things could be a little different:

It would be nice if, every once in a while, Claire could have a problem, too.  It wouldn't have to be a big one.  Just something small that would allow Sydney to show up triumphantly with a bottle of wine and say, "I know just what to do!"

I really enjoy Sarah Addison Allen's books and I love the Waverly sisters and their stories.  I look forward to each book that Allen releases and hope and hope for more.  I would be thrilled if she did a third Waverly Sisters novel, perhaps another ten years in the future as Mariah is becoming an adult, but nothing has been said about it.  I'll just have to keep hoping for now.

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