First Frost (The Waverleys #2)
By: Sarah Addison Allen
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
A magical new novel from the New York Times bestselling author ofLost Lake, featuring characters from her beloved novel Garden Spells.
Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beat-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever.
In an ideal world, I would’ve wanted to re-read the first book, Garden Spells (review), before reading this book but seeing as 1) I didn’t feel like re-reading it, 2) this book has been staring at me for some time now and 3) I was still in a bit of a reading slump but wanted some fiction to read. So here we are, at my review of First Frost at long last 🙂
Well it wasn’t too difficult to sink into the story and reacquaint myself with the charactes from the first book. It’s been almost a decade since the events of the first novel and in some ways things haven’t changed much (the quirks of the town, the characteristics of the families and their close-knittedness, the magic of Claire’s food) but in some ways it has. Each of the Waverley women are faced with their own troubles throughout the novel, not to mention questions about Grandmother Mary, but despite their own obstacles in general the women are at a much better position than in the first novel in that Claire and Sydney have come to an understanding and have learned to rely on each other for support. Both women are also incredibly lucky in that they have husbands who support them no matter what; perhaps they’re a little too perfect but it’s nice nonetheless.
In some ways this book started off feeling like Bay’s novel. She was precocious in the first book and I remember her being the catalyst that brought sisters Claire and Sydney back together. Here she is still very much the same in some respects but she’s entering those murky waters of the teenage years and has found herself dealing with the feelings of first love. It was promising in that she finds herself sort of questioning herself along the way, she who was always so sure of herself, and she does clash a bit with her mother as any teenager would at this age. I guess I wished she had more page time–I certainly found myself more invested in her story than in anyone else’s.
Ultimately did I feel like their story warranted a second book? I’m not sure, whilst I enjoyed reading Bay’s story and just the Waverley interaction, I didn’t much care for the mystery about that weird guy that kept popping up at odd places and trying to throw a wrench into the Waverley women’s lives, and there were a few characters that I didn’t much care for, nor remembered for that matter. Nonetheless I think if you’re a fan of the first book, this book is like a return visit to an old friend and checking in on them.