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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fiction (2015)
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.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

296 pages, Hardcover

First published January 20, 2015

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About the author

Sarah Addison Allen

32 books15.8k followers
New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction -- a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature -- because, as she puts it, "I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate."

After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen's accomplished debut "spellbindingly charming." The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as "Southern-fried magic realism." Clearly, it's a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011), Lost Lake (2014), First Frost (2015) and Other Birds (August 30, 2022).

--From B&N.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,497 reviews
Profile Image for Starla.
164 reviews26 followers
January 6, 2019
What sets Sarah Addison Allen apart is that, while there is always a touch of the whimsical and magical in her stories, the magic isn't merely a bystander. Instead, the magic is deftly used to help tell the story in a very real way. The magic explains feelings, sets the scene, defines the mood, highlights a point, or moves the plot forward. The magic is so expertly woven through the story that it never overshadows the story or the characters; rather, it accentuates them.

The characters are deep and complex and they wrestle with universal human struggles. The struggle to find oneself. The struggle to be oneself. The struggle to belong. The struggle to be loved, or even to simply be remembered.

All of the above combines to create a book that is astonishingly more than the sum of its parts. If I could pick the work of one modern author that I believe should endure and be read, taught, and cherished a hundred years from now, Sarah Addison Allen would be that author.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,162 followers
December 24, 2014
Anyone who has read Garden Spells can confirm that the novel hardly needs a sequel. It's a magical, beautiful stand-alone novel and Allen's debut holds a special place in my heart. First Frost, on the other hand, does not. It takes place a decade after Garden Spells ended and though the re-visit to the Waverley household is familiar--warm, comforting, loving--it feels strangely unnecessary. I didn't have to know of Claire's new candy-making business, Sydney's desire for a son, or Bay's feeling that she belongs with Hunter John's son. While I loved being back in Waverley House and the distinct feeling of Allen's writing is a sensation that wraps around you and holds you tight, like a blanket, First Frost is possibly the most disappointed I have been by her work. If it were not that these were beloved characters I knew before--and intimately, loved these characters--I wouldn't even have given First Frost three stars.

The issue with Allen's latest is the fact that the conflict at hand is flimsy. I appreciate the post-marriage struggles Sydney and Claire face. Their demons from Garden Spells aren't as pronounced but that doesn't mean they have disappeared. Thus, I rather enjoyed being back in their minds, witnessing them come to terms with the change in their lives that time inevitably introduces. Most of all, I loved Bay's narrative and the teenage issues she found herself face-to-face with. Yet, the coming together of these plot lines didn't work quite as seamlessly as it worked in Garden Spells. The shift from Teenage to Adult perspectives wasn't perfection. The strange side plot line with an odd old man entering town, poking around and asking about the Waverley's, ended too abruptly and anticlimactically to satisfy. Ultimately, First Frost lacked the strength of Garden Spells. Claire and Sydney were a unit and in being so, the union of their sisterhood from Garden Spells is a far more compelling story than their joint unity in First Frost.

Allen's latest isn't bad, not in the least. It is beautifully written and, as always, her prose is impeccable and characterizations are point-on. In my eyes, though, there wasn't enough of a story to be told, here. I didn't feel moved by these characters or their struggles as I was in Garden Spells. I wasn't charmed or enchanted or rendered speechless by the magic in the air. First Frost is a novel that fans of Allen are bound to read--and I don't fault them. It's a few hours well spent in the company of an author and characters I adore. Just don't go in expecting the caliber of Allen's debut.
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,243 followers
March 19, 2015
When opening the hardcover edition, I was treated to this:

I love that kind of detail.

On to the story, which takes place roughly 10 years after Garden Spells. We find Claire has taken to candy-making and forgone her catering business. Sydney’s salon has taken off and her Waverly hair magic (seriously??) is still going strong. Sydney’s daughter, Bay’s gift of finding where things belong gets her into trouble when she gives a note to an older boy about how they “belong together”. And an ailing Evanelle has taken Fred under her wing in more ways than one.


The conflict in this story expressed magical-realistically in the theme of what makes a family. For Claire, her doubting her gifts with food has lead her away from her joy of catering and into a business where she is making money but kinda hates what she is doing. This leads to an opening for a former circus performer to try to scam her out of money by insisting that she isn’t a Waverly by blood, which would threaten her business somehow because she was quoted about it on a blog.


Sydney wants to have another baby and is desperate to conceive. In a predictable storyline, she finds that her irresponsible receptionist—who has a child that Sydney loves being around—is looking to leave town and


Her 15 year old daughter, Bay has her own problems. One of which is that modern vernacular has ruined the name “Bay”, because I kept reading it like “Bae”, though this isn’t the author’s fault as much as it is damn youths and their hip hop slang *shakes fist angrily*. Well, Bay gets a feeling that a senior named Josh is her bae and writes him a note. Teenage girls, please take note: this is not romantic, it is creepy. Somehow they end up as a friends, though?? To be honest, I didn’t care for the teen storyline in the book, and that’s why I had to take a star away.

Oxygen tank-toting Evanelle is still up to her old tricks of giving people what they need. She doesn’t understand her gift, but somehow she passes it on to her caretaker Fred. This solidifies the theme that blood doesn’t always equal family, but it does raise some questions about how magic works in these books if it isn’t biological. Although it keeps being hinted that Evanelle is on the decline in life, she is still kicking at the end.

Claire’s child is finally expressing her Waverly talent, though Claire did think that her daughter might just be a muggle for most of the story.

All in all, I thought it was a fun book. Though it did seem a little short at 291 pages.

There’s also a recipe for Fig and Pepper bread at the end.

Profile Image for Diane.
1,079 reviews2,607 followers
June 11, 2015
This was disappointing. While I didn't expect much from it other than some pleasant escapism, this novel had me sighing in exasperation.

"First Frost" is the sixth book by Sarah Addison Allen that I have read, and it is one of her weakest. It is a sequel to "Garden Spells" and continues the story of the Waverley family in Bascom, North Carolina. All of the Waverley women have special gifts: Claire has magical culinary skills, Sydney has magical hair-styling skills, and her daughter, Bay, has magical organizing skills.

I will pause here to say that all of Allen's novels contain some magical realism, with varying degrees of success. Her books also have some romance and Southern charm, which can be delightful. In the past I have enjoyed dipping into her stories when I needed a light read, but "First Frost" was too silly and just didn't gel. I caught myself dreading picking up this book, which should never happen with a supposedly fun read.

If you would like to try an Allen book, I recommend starting with "The Peach Keeper" or "Lost Lake."

Profile Image for Margitte.
1,142 reviews486 followers
April 19, 2018
Imagine a house with feelings, and an apple tree who doesn't favor men. Then add to it food with magic qualities, four generations of Waverley women with special 'talents' and you've got this delightful family saga.

And yes, you've got me loving this book for the perfect magic realism it presents and for the simple fairy stars it sprinkled all over my upside down world.

What's not to love about a cute apple tree, flowering the wrong time of the year, shower her beloved people in petals at the first frost, and throw out-of-favor people with apples. And yes, if the out-of-favored stand near enough, they will get bumped on the head with a branch. This tree was a presence, a personality, an influence on every Waverley who ever lived there.

In Bascom, North Carolina, The Waverley house, an old Queen Anne with a wraparound porch in Pendland street need to be talked to, particularly when her front door should be unlocked. Within her walls, Claire and Sydney, Mary's two granddaughters, learnt their skills to survive without parents to guide them along.

Everywhere in her interior, the old mansions hid Mary's multitude of diaries which told Mary Waverly's life story in recipes. From how to rid the garden of shiny green beetles, to husband-catcher cake. The eccentric agoraphobic Mary was famous for her secret-love custard pies, mint jellies, chive blossom stir-fry, and her rose geranium wine. Throughout her life Mary changed the recipes to suit her circumstances, mood and memories. One of them was the hard candy recipe which brings fame to Claire in adulthood.

The candy sent children to bed early, ease sore throats, bring the truth out, ensure happiness, make adults think of their first loves, change their destinies. Nobody know why their lives change but they have to have Claire's candy with her secret flower ingredients. And then there is grandma Mary's fig and pepper bread recipe...

Claire have this thing for cooking. Flowers bring out the best or worst in people and Claire knows which flowers to use in her cooking... Her catering business thrived as a result. But that was before she discovered Mary's candy recipes. It did not worked out quite as planned, even though it injected Mariah's college funds considerably.

Sydney had this thing for hair. Women cannot do without her cuts. Sydney's haircuts enable women to win promotions, sell more Tupperware, receive raises and become winners. Pure magic, they believe.

The silver-haired, silver-eyed old gentleman in his silver suit arrives in town, more or less a few days before the first frost. And that's where the skeletons in the closets begin to rattle and shake and old secrets start falling out, spreading the mystery all over the floor when fifteen-year-old Bay tries to find an old dress of great-grandma Mary in which the old dame bewitched men and made women jealous. With flowers in her hair, beautiful great-grandma Mary used to host her fairy garden parties, dressed as a garden nymph which captured the minds and souls of the unsuspected people in town. Most did not like it. "You can't compete with strange. Strange always wins", they said.

Bay had her own battles to win in school. Aunt Claire offered to serve mint cookies and tea with honeysuckle syrup to clear a particular boy's thoughts and help him see. However, there was a secret foid between the Waverley and Matteson families of which Bay and Claire was unaware and only Sydney can explain, but she ain't talking, that is, until the silver-eyed man enters town...

So much southern charm grace this tale of women negotiating their lives through family secrets, heartbreak, botched-up love affairs, and social challenges in a town where they are deemed odd.

But it all will change before Claire's first frost party take place this year in the garden with the apple tree. It will be the weirdest hoedown ever.

A wonderful, relaxing, uplifting southern tale. My fourth novel by Sarah Addison Allen. What a delight!
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,039 reviews463 followers
May 28, 2022
Loved it!



Magical realism at its most whimsical: Bay was a trouper! She is a Waverley through and through. The Waverleys were feared because of their strange gifts, and Bay was no exception. She has the gift of knowing where things belong, and this made her an outcast, of course, in her high school crowd. And when Bay dared to tell the most popular boy in school that they were meant to be together... well, Bay was just about pilloried with scorn!!





I enjoyed the reunion with all my favourite characters from Garden Spells and I loved that twist at the end! (That zany living tree had me choking with laughter more than once!)



To go into too many details would spoil the read. Just sit back and enjoy, like I did!
Profile Image for Dana Al-Basha |  دانة الباشا.
2,134 reviews762 followers
June 8, 2017
[Thursday, ‎August ‎28, ‎2014] No way! No way! No way!! OMG!! I'm so excited!!!! I wanted a second installment the first time I finished the book!! :D



A few years ago I read Garden Spells, and afterward read it multiple times, for the pleasure reading it gave me, since then Allen became one of my favorite authors, I've been pre ordering her novels ever since.



I didn't want to finish reading First Frost, I wanted to slowly enjoy it, I always rush though a good book, and First Frost was so good that as I flipped the last page I said loudly: "Third book coming soon?"



I don't think I'll ever tire of the Waverleys story or the world Sarah creates in all her books. I want to be a Waverley and I want ALL those cooking books and recipes. I loved how everyone grew but kind of stayed the same.



Another gem.

Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 1 book585 followers
June 29, 2020
I read this book back in 2015 and, strangely, I didn't remember the story at all. That's amazing because I got to read it for the first time for a second time. And I liked it even more than 5 years ago. Even more than the first book of the series! Am I crazy to hope for another Waverley family book one day? Anyway, I know Sarah Addison Allen is finishing a new book (thank God!) and I'm gonna buy it as soon as it's published, no matter what is the story.
Profile Image for Nikoleta.
667 reviews269 followers
January 23, 2018
Αυτό το βιβλίο είναι χαρούμενο, ρομαντικό και αισιόδοξο σαν παιδί που ακόμα ελπίζει και πιστεύει στη μαγεία…
Profile Image for Claire.
2,303 reviews704 followers
May 26, 2015
5 - "Autumn winds bring strangers." Stars!

My literary love affair with the books of Sarah Addison Allen began way back in 2007, when I stumbled across a paperback book in my local book store (yes books were still a physical thing back then).



The cover grabbed my attention and the synopsis on the back piqued my interest, to this day that book still sits on my book shelf, one of very few that I have kept, because it evokes a memory every time I pick it up, a memory of comfort, happiness, expectation and joy.

Waverley women are mysterious and magical women with a long and well-known history in the south.

So to be returning to Bascom, North Carolina after such a break, made this quite an emotional read for me on several levels, some personal and some not.



A lot has happened in my life in the intervening years as you would expect, and reading of the changes that have happened in the lives of the Waverley sisters as well as their spouses and children also bought back memories of some of the highs and lows in the tapestry of my own life.



Bay Waverley was only a small child when I read Garden Spells so to read of her experiences as she approaches womanhood, especially with her unique Waveley take on life and love, and the way her peers treat her because of it was an absolute treat.

Each Waverley had something different about her.

Claire and Sydney also feature heavily in this book as well (thankfully), as well as the aging Evanelle, it was akin to a long lost family reunion for me, and I loved every second of it.



First Frost is an easygoing and comforting read, it almost felt like coming home after years away. It bought back happy memories, fizzles of excitement, and the reawakening of a memory of something innocently forgotten, but no less loved because of it.



Sarah is one of my ‘go-to’ authors, I love her books and the characters contained within. Her stories are unique, colourful and memorable, First Frost is no exception, it is another perfect example why I love her books, and I would encourage anyone to give them a go, disappointment is not a word contained in the book of Words to Describe Sarah Addison Allen

Don’t define yourself by what you don’t want to do. Define it by what you do want to do.

ARC generously provided via Netgalley, and it was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,269 followers
January 20, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.)

“First frost was always an unpredictable time, but this year it felt more… desperate than others.
Something was about to happen.”




Wow. Just Wow. I Loved this book! I really didn’t want it to end, and now I’m just crying!



I loved the characters in this book, it was so nice to find out what had happened to everybody after the end of ‘Garden Spells’, and seeing Bay all grown up was just so special. I also loved her assortment of slogan t-shirts, with such wonderful statements like ‘come to the dark side. We have cookies’, ‘I have not yet begun to procrastinate’, ‘Either you like bacon, or you’re wrong’, and ‘my life is based on a true story’.

“I’m Bay Waverley, the girl who knows where everything belongs. Nice title, huh? It makes me sound like a neat freak. Which I am, a little. But that’s another story.”



Claire was still Claire, Sydney was still Sydney, and I loved how happy they were with Tyler and Henry. It was also good to meet Mariah, and even though I guessed the twist with regards to her new best friend I still loved it!



The storyline in this book was really good, and I loved the tension over what was going to happen! There was a very dodgy bloke in town, and other slightly odd things going on, and even though I was supposed to be reading another book, I got so sucked into this one, that I couldn’t put it down.

“That man, who was he?” Claire asked, trying not to sound like it was urgent, because it wasn’t really urgent. At least, she didn’t think so.
“What man?” Patrice said.
“There was an elderly man standing here a moment ago,” Claire said. “He had silver hair. He was wearing a silver suit.”
“There was no one here,” Tara said.




There was some romance in this book, and it was super sweet. I just loved how Bay had realised that a certain boy was who she belonged with! Even if it wasn’t who Sydney would have picked for her, it really was just magical.

“Bay was an extraordinary young woman. Beautiful, kind, mysterious. If Josh spent any amount of time with her, he would fall for her. Sydney knew that with a certainty as hard as flint.”



I felt really sorry for both Claire and Sydney in this book and the things they were going through, but this whole book was just so heart-warming and touching, and an absolute joy to read. I hope that more people will read this and fall in love with it too! That ending was just so beautiful! I totally ended up in tears!

Please, please, please let there be more books about this family!

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,686 reviews14k followers
January 21, 2015
3.5 Everyone need a little magic in their life and that is exactly what I receive when I read this author. A return to the Waverly's of Garden Spells, this amazing family all with their own individual special talents. Who wouldn't like to have an apple tree that tosses apples at those she feel are interfering, which blooms at first frost and signals new beginnings, like a reset button? Doors that stick or won't open a all if they do not want to let someone in. Wonderful characters, enchanting story lines.

Light, feel good reads, this author has mastered the art of writing this type of book, a book that entertains and surprises.

ARC from NetGalley.
Profile Image for Carole.
304 reviews38 followers
February 22, 2015
4.5 stars.
I won this book as a First Reads giveaway.
The Waverly women from Garden Spells return in Sarah Addison Allen's latest, to be released in January.
It was a perfect time to read this as it takes place just before the first frost. I enjoyed the magical themes once again as we learn that Claire is in business making candy, Sydney is longing for a baby, and her daughter, Bay is a teenager, accepting her life and gifts as a Waverly woman. A mysterious man shows up in Bascom with secrets that threaten to change lives.
This was a very enjoyable, quick read, I stayed up late to finish. Delightful, and highly recommended, especially if you enjoyed Garden Spells!
651 reviews110 followers
June 17, 2020
A definite "must read" if you loved Garden Spells. Strange, I didn't find Garden Spells "unfinished". I suppose that this is the reason First Frost was even more magical for me. Now, I want to know what goes on after this book...
Profile Image for Bren fall in love with the sea..
1,536 reviews259 followers
April 9, 2020
“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

This book made me nostalgic. But I am not sure for what.

I think nostalgic for something like Chocolate Milk and a warm fire and day dreaming and apple bobbing, cider and sitting with my mom and dad musing about whatever. Also more Chocolate milk, cupcakes, cake frosting, long cool nights, the smell of freshly cut grass, plans and trees and feeling free and like you can conquer..anything. All while siting inside your house sipping coffee and dreaming.

I do not know if what I said made any sense but that is all that I felt reading "First Frost" a book that has now landed on my "favorites" list..forever. It made me smile, it made me cry and it made me yearn.

I adored reading about the Waverley family whom I instantly related to and I cannot think of one iota of anything that was not pure delight in First Frost.

Interesting that I have not read the first installment. I found out about First Frost through a Goodreads friend but the first one is on my to be read list. This one can be read as a stand along however.

This book is for all the yearners and the dreamers and lovers of stories charm and magical realism, that make you remember the classics from years ago like Little Women and just make you smile.

Oh..I am also in love with the sassy little apple tree.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,830 reviews5,503 followers
February 7, 2015
*4.5 stars*

I first read Garden Spells, the prequel to this book, back in 2008. Though I'd always been in love with reading, my reading volume was much lower back then. I was reading about a book or two a month at that point, compared to about 350 books a year, which is my current rate. Now that 7 years have passed, I wasn't sure how I would view this author or her stories. Would I still love her style, her voice? The answer is a HUGE hell yeah.

From the moment I started this book I couldn't put it down. It is amazing how much I remembered the original characters and their stories, and was able to pick right back up where I left off. It is like the Outlander books: No matter how much time has passed between sequels, I have no problem jumping right in again.

I think the most wonderful thing about this book is the feeling that it gave me. It felt like coming home, like warm chocolate cookies right out of the oven. I wanted to LIVE in this town, be a magical Waverley or part of some other old family with a famed talent. I feel like where I live, people are just sort of drifting and moving and commuting. There is not that sense of generations of people living in the same small town, all knowing each other and their secrets, for better or for worse. This book made me nostalgic for small town living, and it gave me a strange sense of peace to read about this magical place.

I loved the focus of this book on Bay, who was just a small child in the first book. Her talent of knowing where things belong was one of the more fascinating talents for me, and I think the author did a beautiful job of it. I really enjoyed how Bay's story unfolded, along with each other member of the Waverley family.

I think this book also appropriately changed with the times, introducing a few key LGBT characters and modern advancements. The whole book felt both fresh while at the same time, retained it's old-fashioned vibe.

My only complaint is that this book is a bit predictable, and that it isn't an "in your face" kind of story. But the magic in this book is in the skillful, subtle writing and that came through loud and clear.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Karina.
765 reviews
December 8, 2018
I liked the story. It was the second book of the Waverley sisters, now with husbands and children. I don't think Sydney and Claire needed another story in their lives. This could have been a new book with new characters, in my opinion. The plot was slow and it was a little too long but it was an easy, girly read and nice for the fall, winter weather. A short story would've been better.

Anyway, Allen is a feel good author and I DO like how the characters aren't forced to live happily ever after. If they are crappy that is the way Allen makes them throughout. Good karma, bad karma.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,285 reviews639 followers
February 22, 2015
3.5 bumped to 4 stars:
“First Frost” is the perfect book to read when you want to cozy up with a great chic-lit book that leaves you warm and fuzzy inside. It reminded me of Alice Hoffman’s “Practical Magic”: quirky sisters who own mystical powers. “Practical Magic” had a dark side, while “First Frost” is pure honey and cinnamon. Yes, one of the sisters has a culinary skill.

Taking place in North Carolina (aren’t all best chic-lit novels in the South), it’s a story of one of the youngest Waverly girl’s transition into adulthood. Bay is 15 and comfortable with her gift. Yet she finds difficulty existing in a high school environment. Her mother, Sydney tries to shield her (as most parents do) from the hazards of high school. Yet Sydney has her own personal issues. Sydney’s sister Claire attempts to do it all with her business meanwhile simmering inside with who inherently she is.

This is a fun book with likeable and loveable characters. It’s a sweet story and leaves you content. This is a second book about the Waverly Sisters. I’m going to get the first one “Garden Spells”: that’s how much I enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Britany.
941 reviews415 followers
November 13, 2015
What a perfect book to read this time of year. First Frost takes place around Halloween, and is a book that I read at the right time. I fell in love again with the Waverley's, and their quirks. The book was magically descriptive and made me wish that I lived on the same street so that I could taste Claire's candies, and join in at the First Frost party. Light-hearted with the perfect amount of mystery stirred in. I want to go back and read it all over again.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,449 reviews9 followers
February 22, 2015
The Waverleys of Bascom, NC, have an apple tree in the backyard that lies dormant each fall until the first frost appears, usually sometime in late October. Then it blooms all winter and bears pink apples throughout spring and early summer, throwing, not dropping, the apples all around. Now, if you think this is odd, so are the Waverleys. And so is this story, although very much as expected from this author.

Autumn's first frost is much anticipated here, as a time when wrongs right themselves and one can have a fresh start again. Fifteen year old Bay is yearning for a certain boy to fall for her. Her mother wants another pregnancy. And her Aunt Claire wants to stop feeling overwhelmed by her thriving candy business. Only then there comes a stranger to town....

The Waverleys, all female and all magical in their own ways, are an endearing bunch, as is their story. I am not particularly fond of all the fairy and fantasy stuff, and thought it could have been a fine story without it. On the other hand, the magic and fairy dust make this story what it is--rather special. Courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
770 reviews12.1k followers
November 11, 2014
I was not familiar with the Waverley women, and their family "secrets," as this is the first novel I have read by Addison Allen, but since there was enough background information given about the characters and their family history, I was able to follow the story with ease. I thought that the different narratives were well balanced, and I enjoyed the magical elements of the story.

I want to learn more about the Waverley women and their family secrets, so I plan on reading all of Sarah Addison Allen's books. I am so glad that I won this book as a First Reads giveaway!!
Profile Image for Sarah.
716 reviews37 followers
January 31, 2019
I've written this review for Really Into This

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Happy Reading, friends!

Another dose of the Waverley family did not disappoint. I really enjoy Sarah’s writing style. She weaves these elements of magic throughout the story that makes the reader smile. I loved how First Frost picked up on all the same characters years later. They each still carry their own special Waverley gifts & these gifts become useful new ways in preparation for the frost. The sweetest part of the story was learning more about Sydney’s daughter, Bay. She is just wonderful. Her gift is that she knows where everything should be, so when she senses she is supposed to be with a certain young man she does the craziest thing a young girl can do- she tells him! I thought this was so brave & so endearing, especially since the boy is the son of her mother’s first love. Cue the turmoil & hurt feelings. I enjoyed catching up with one of my favorites characters, Evanelle & I was happy to learn more about the famous Waverley apple tree. This book felt like coming home in a way. I got to catch up with all my friends in Bascom, North Carolina.

If there is a third book in this series, I would definitely be into it- these characters are just memorable. I’ve got other Sarah Addison Allen books on my TBR list like, Sugar Queen, has anyone else read her stuff? It’s really up my alley.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews918 followers
May 15, 2015
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

‘First frost was always an unpredictable time, but this year it felt more... desperate than others.
Something was about to happen.’


First Frost marks the return to the beloved town of Bascom, North Carolina where the Waverley sisters reside. Claire has left her catering business behind after creating Waverley’s Candies. The business itself is lucrative and does extremely well, but the amount of time she must dedicate to the business leaves Claire with little time for her family or anything else. Sydney now owns her own business as well in Bascom, a hair salon that is equally successful, but her apparent inability to have more children is a painful reminder every day. Sydney’s daughter Bay is now in high school and because of her gift for knowing exactly where things belong she knows that she belongs with Josh Matteson, she just needs to convince him she’s right. First frost is an unpredictable time for the Waverley’s and it also heralds the arrival of an old man that brings a story that might change everything for these women.

I really, really enjoyed Garden Spells (the second time I read it at least) but the ending didn’t leave me anticipating that there would ever be a sequel so the announcement of First Frost was quite a surprise, but an exciting one for sure. First Frost centers around the two sisters but includes more of Bay and her struggles to understand her magical gift and coming to terms with it. It was wonderful to see her all grown up and matured, no longer the six year old girl that could spend all day in the backyard staring into the branches of the mystical apple tree. The inclusion of the mysterious old man that threw everything the family knew into question was an ill-fitting piece of the story. He was manipulative and conniving and even though he was a necessary piece in order to add drama to the plot, the motivations behind his actions lacked in logic. The majority of the story was spent explaining it to an extent and I would have much preferred to see that time spent telling more of Bay’s story which was my favorite part. While I felt the multiple storylines didn’t mesh together quite as well as they did in Garden Spells, it was still wonderful to be back in Bascom.

The magic of the Waverley’s is definitely back with the characters we all know and love, and even a few new faces. First Frost is an incredibly quick and entertaining read where the pages will fly as if by magic. It’ll be hard to say goodbye this time but personally I’m now hoping for future Waverley stories to come.

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Melodie.
588 reviews64 followers
September 29, 2015
Welcome back to the world of the Waverley sisters and their enchanting family. Some time has passed with Claire and Sydney along with their respective families awaiting the annual first frost. Things are in a bit of a stew, but first frost will bring much needed peace.
Of course before there can be peace, there are people and events to be dealt with. Claire, while successful is full of doubts as to her gifts and worries that she is short changing her husband and daughter. Sydney is feeling every tick of her biological clock,pining for another chance at motherhood.Her daughter Bay, at age fifteen is totally comfortable with who she is and who she should be with. It would just be nice if somebody else knew that as well.And let us not forget the apple tree with personality plus, that blooms at first frost,bears fruit that no one dares to eat, and routinely throws apples or otherwise shows it's displeasure to those it dislikes.
Against the backdrop of fall in North Carolina,this sweet tale reminds the reader of the importance of family and appreciating one's place in the world. The magical qualities that each of us possess if only we are willing to embrace them. I also liked the idea of making a choice for something/someone instead of a choice against or not to. A matter of semantics? Maybe, but think about it. Positivity will usually win out in life.
If you haven't read Garden Spells, no worries. First Frost stands well on it's own. But do yourself a favor. Take the time, snuggle in and read both.
November 9, 2017
Ήταν το 2007 όταν κυκλοφόρησε στο εξωτερικό, το 2012 όταν έφτασε στα χέρια μου, δώρο μιας αγαπημένης φίλης που μου τόνισε πως: "Αυτό πρέπει να το διαβάσεις!", μην αφήνοντάς μου περιθώρια γι' αντιρρήσεις. Ο λόγος για το βιβλίο "Ο μαγικός κήπος" της Sarah Addison Allen, που είχε εκδοθεί από τις εκδόσεις Ωκεανίδα -και που νομίζω πως έχει εξαντ��ηθεί- και είχε αγαπηθεί ιδιαίτερα από το ελληνικό κοινό χάρη στην τρυφερότητα που το χαρακτήριζε, αλλά και τη μαγική διάθεση που περιέβαλλε στο σύνολό του, τόσο από άποψη γραφής, όσο και από θέμα πλοκής και διάπλασης χαρακτήρων. Σήμερα, πέντε χρόνια μετά, το βιβλίο της ίδιας, "Η πρώτη παγωνιά", ανακαλύπτω πως είναι η συνέχεια εκείνης της υπέροχης ιστορίας που κάποτε αγάπησα. Και χωρίς να θέλω να φανώ πως μεροληπτώ, ήξερα πως θα αγαπήσω και την συνέχειά της το ίδιο δυνατά.

Τα χρόνια έχουν περάσει, λοιπόν, και συναντάμε ξανά τις αδερφές Γουέιβερλι, οι οποίες εξακολουθούν να ζουν στη Βόρεια Καρολίνα, κάτω από τον ίσκιο της παράξενης, μαγικής μηλιάς τους, η οποία και ανθίζει με τα πρώτα κρύα του χειμώνα. Η Κλερ έχει αφοσιωθεί σώμα και ψυχή στην επιχείρησή της, στην παρασκευή καραμελών που φέρουν την υπογραφή της, έχοντας, όμως, βαθιά μέσα της την ανησυχία πως ίσως τα γλυκά της δεν προσφέρουν αυτή τη μαγεία που υπόσχεται. Από την άλλη, η Σίντνεϊ, έχει μια βαθιά λαχτάρα ν' αποκτήσει ένα ακόμα παιδί, όσο, όμως, κι αν το προσπαθεί, δεν τα καταφέρνει, γεγονός που την στεναχωρεί, την κάνει να χάνει τον προσανατολισμό της, μα και τη διάθεσή της, στερώντας της τις μικρές απολαύσεις και χαρές τις καθημερινότητας. Την ίδια ώρα, η κόρη της Μπέι, νιώθει τα πρώτα σκιρτήματα του έρωτα κι αν κάποιον χρειάζεται κοντά της, αυτή είναι η μητέρα της. Και σαν να μην έφταναν όλα αυτά, ένας άγνωστος άντρας εμφανίζεται χωρίς καμία προειδοποίηση, στο κατώφλι του σπιτιού τους, αποκαλύπτοντάς τους ένα μυστικό που θα ταράξει τις ίδιες και τη ζωή τους, με τρόπο ανεπανόρθωτο, αν δεν καταφέρουν να το διαχειριστούν.

Όπως προείπα, έχοντας διαβάσει το πρώτο βιβλίο της "σειράς", μπορώ να έχω μια πολύ ξεκάθαρη άποψη για το πως η Allen έχει διαχειριστεί την ιστορία της με το πέρασμα των χρόνων, αλλά, κυρίως, το πως έχει εξελίξει τους χαρακτήρες. Η Κλερ και η Σίντνεϊ δεν ήταν, τα πρώτα χρόνια της ζωής τους, οι αγαπημένες αδερφές που συναντάμε στο σήμερα. Για να το πετύχουν αυτό χρειάστηκε να προσπαθήσουν πολύ, να "δουλέψουν" τα προβλήματά τους, μα και να βρουν τις χαμένες ισορροπίες με τον ίδιο τους τον εαυτό. Και τ' αποτέλεσμα αυτού ήταν ν' αγκαλιάσουν τη μαγεία της ζωής και να την χαρούν στο έπακρο, εκτιμώντας το μεγαλείο που βρίσκεται κρυμμένο στα πιο απλά πράγματα και στις πιο μικρές χαρές που μπορεί να σου προσφέρει η καθημερινότητά σου. Όμως, όσο κι αν αλλάζεις, ο χρόνος φέρνει φθορές μαζί του, σ' αλλοιώνει, σε κάνει να σκέφτεσαι και ν' αμφιβάλλεις, σ' αποδυναμώνει και σε πολεμάει, κι εσύ πρέπει να βρεις τη δύναμη να παλέψεις ενάντια σε όλα αυτά. Και οι δύο, αγαπημένες μας αδερφές μάς έχουν αποδείξει πως τίποτα σ' αυτή τη ζωή δεν είναι αδύνατο, αρκεί να το προσπαθήσεις.

Η Allen έχει επιλέξει να τοποθετήσει τις ηρωίδες της μέσα σ' ένα πιο ρεαλιστικό πλαίσιο απ' αυτό της πρωτότυπης ιστορίας τους, θέτοντάς τες αντιμέτωπες με προβλήματα που δεν είναι εξωπραγματικά, αλλά που θα μπορούσε ν' αντιμετωπίσει ο καθένας από εμάς, γεγονός που μας επιτρέπει να ταυτιστούμε μαζί τους και να συμπάσχουμε με το όποιο προσωπικό τους δράμα. Αυτό, όμως, δεν αναιρεί πως στην ατμόσφαιρα πλανάται -και υπαινίσσεται συνεχώς- η μαγεία, η ύπαρξη της οποίας δεν μπορεί ν' αμφισβητηθεί, γιατί ακόμα κι αν δεν μπορείς να της δώσεις μια συγκεκριμένη ταυτότητα, τη βλέπεις στα χρώματα, την οσμίζεσαι στ' αρώματα, την γεύεσαι στις γεύσεις, του φθινοπώρου που φέρνει πάντα μαζί του αλλαγές, στα μήλα μιας μηλιάς που σαν να έχει δική της προσωπικότητα, ξεχωρίζει απ' όλες τις άλλες του πλανήτη, στα γλυκά που φτιάχνει με τόση αγάπη και λαχτάρα η Κλερ, θέλοντας να μοιραστεί τα μυστικά της οικογένειάς της με όλο τον κόσμο, συμβάλλοντας με τον δικό της τρόπο στη δική τους ευτυχία.

Με γλώσσα απλή, μα που διακατέχεται από μια δόση λυρισμού, με λόγο που ρέει αβίαστα και βρίθει τρυφερότητας και αγάπης, η Allen μας συστήνει ξανά από την αρχή δύο γυναίκες, όχι στην ενηλικίωσή τους, αλλά στην τελική ωρίμανσή τους, στην κρίσιμη εκείνη καμπή της ζωής τους που δεν καλούνται να υιοθετήσουν μια ταυτότητα, αλλά να υπερασπιστούν αυτήν που αποδέχτηκαν τόσα χρόνια πριν, ξορκίζοντας τις όποιες εσωτερικές τους φοβίες και αντιμετωπίζοντας ό,τι μπορεί να ταράξει τα θεμέλια της ήρεμης ζωής τους. Ο αέρας της αλλαγής φυσάει για μία ακόμα φορά στον κήπο τους κι εκείνες καλούνται να φανούν πιο δυνατές από ποτέ και να μην χαθούν μέσα σε μια δίνη ανασφάλειας. Άλλωστε, η σκιά της μηλιάς τους προστατεύει πάντα τα όνειρά τους, οι καρποί της τρέφουν τις επιθυμίες τους, ενώ οι ρίζες της αντιπροσωπεύουν αυτό που είναι οι ίδιες, μα και η οικογένεια που μαζί έχουν χτίσει. Ένα υπέροχο φινάλε, σε μια συγκινητική ιστορία που πρέπει να διαβάσετε.
Profile Image for Dani C. (Polly's Place).
546 reviews243 followers
January 21, 2015
Several years ago I came across a book in my favorite used book store called Garden Spells. It was on clearance and since the title intrigued me I picked it up and read the back cover. What I read there sealed the deal and I purchased it that day. When I finally sat down and read I was immediately taken into a special world that left me with such wonderful feelings and instantly I became a fan of the author.

First Frost is the second book in the Waverley Family series. It immediately brought me back to those wonderful feeling I had when I read Garden Spells. I was able to snuggle on the couch and ignore the world around me as I became involved in Claire, Sydney and Bay’s lives. I really wish I could slip into their world and see the apple tree for myself.

This series is a must read series for anyone I know. I have recommended Garden Spells to so many people and I now happily add First Frost to that very short list of well-loved books.
Profile Image for Mimi.
691 reviews187 followers
November 20, 2017
Achingly sweet and, at times, painfully YA. And yet, I'm still glad to be back in Bascom, North Carolina revisiting the Waverlys, their apple tree, and their witchy ways.

I don't know what it is about this author or her writing that still draws me in, but I do know that it's something I would have hated had I read it a few years ago. All this sweetness and youthful energy would have been too suffocating, and I would have dismissed the book as over the top and juvenile. And I know I would have DNF'd at around page 20 and never looked back.

But the times have changed, as they often do, and my taste has been veering toward all things light and happy, fiction included. It's a little disconcerting, to be honest. I must be losing my edge in my old age.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,877 followers
December 5, 2014
Awwwwwwww. Now idd'n that just the sweetest thang. A feel-good book if ever there was one.

Ms. Allen delivers more of what we've been hankering for since we fell in love with the Waverley women in Garden Spells.

A review is in the works.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews153 followers
December 30, 2014
Three and a half stars: A book with lovely writing, wonderful characters, but it felt unfinished.

Bay dashes down the street, eager to reach her Aunt Claire's house to start candy making. At sixteen, Bay is enduring all the growing pains of any normal teenage girl, but she is far from normal. Bay is a Waverley, and that means she was born with a magical gift. For Bay, her talent is knowing where everything belongs, and Bay knows she is meant to be with Josh Masterson, even though he doesn't acknowledge her existence. Meanwhile, a stranger has come to Bascom, with bad intentions. Will Bay finally find a place where she belongs? Will the stranger cause turmoil for the Waverleys?
What I Liked:
*Diving into this book was like coming home. I love Ms. Allen's lovely, magical writing, and I adore the quirky Waverley Women. I was immediately enchanted once again with the Waverleys and their magical tree and mysterious gifts. If you enjoy magical realism books, I highly recommend reading Garden Spells and First Frost.
*I loved catching up with Claire, Sydney, Bay, Henry, Tyler, Evanelle and Fred. It has been ten years since the events of Garden Spells, and there have been many changes for the characters. I have grown very attached to all these characters, and it was nice to see how they have fared ten years down the road. I especially liked seeing how much Bay has changed. Ms. Allen writes the most interesting and engaging characters.
*I enjoyed all the touches of magic. Each Waverley woman has her own unique gift, and it is always fun to see their talents in action. There is just enough magic to be believable. It isn't over the top, and it adds just a special pinch of something magical to the book.
*The writing is absolutely lovely. I can't begin to describe it properly, but it is the type of writing that engages all of your senses. Ms. Allen incorporates rich descriptions that tickle your senses. If you are a connoisseur of gorgeous writing, you must read a book written by Ms. Allen.
*The ending is for the most part satisfying, and I appreciated that both Claire and Sydney found resolutions to their problems, and that Bay seemed set on the right path, however it felt a bit unfinished, like there is more story to tell, and I am hoping that means there will be another Waverly book down the road.
And The Not So Much:
*A big portion of the story is focused on this mysterious stranger who arrives in town with ill intent. He is an aging con man who has found a mark in Bascom. I could have cared less about this man, and I hated his portion of the book. It was jarring and disruptive and it took away from the coziness of the story. I also thought the resolution of his story line was anti climatic. In all honesty, his part should be down away with . I didn't like it because it took away from the focus on the Waverleys.
*I was disappointed that Tyler's and Henry's parts in the story were not impactful. They just flitted in and out without doing anything.
*Claire was my favorite character in the first book, I loved reading about her magical, flower infused cooking. This time around, I had a hard time connecting with her because she has gone into the candy making business and quit cooking. She is doubting her gifts, and thus she is unhappy. I missed the old Claire.
*There is a story line regarding Sydney trying to help a teenage mom. I wasn't a big fan of this part of the story either. I didn't like the teenager, and it was predictable as to how it would all pan out.
*Bay's story was the most interesting, and I loved following her as she found her way. Unfortunately, just as her story is reaching a satisfying conclusion, it cuts off rather abruptly. The book ended in a strange place, and I thought it needed a bit more something at the end.
*This is a minor complaint, which I hope will be corrected in the final copy, there is a recipe for the Waverley Fig and Pepper Bread at the end, which appears to be incomplete. In the digital ARC there is no mention of either fig or pepper in the ingredient list. How can you make fig and pepper bread without them?

First Frost was a lovely read, and I enjoyed catching up with old friends. While I for the most part, enjoyed the story, and I loved the writing, I don't think it quite lived up to the magic of Garden Spells. Still overall, it was a delightful read, and I am still a big fan of Ms. Allen. I am hopeful that there will be another book in this fantastic series.

Favorite Quotations:
"You're only as weird as you want to be."
"She wished she had known back then. Known that happiness isn't a point in time you leave behind. It's what's ahead of you. Every single day."
"Maybe you don't have to be led into the future. Maybe you can pick your own path. Maybe you don't fall in love. Maybe you don't fall in love. Maybe you jump. Maybe, just maybe, it's all a choice."

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.

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