Title: First Frost
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Information on Series: A sequel to Garden Spells, however, I did not know this until after I’d read the book, and didn’t feel lost for having not read Garden Spells.
Rating (scale of 1-5): 2.5
TL;DR: The magical Waverley women deal with big changes in each of their lives by relying on the strengths of family bonds.
Two things to note before I start this review: 1) I listened to this book on audiobook and 2) this book is a sequel, but I did not know that before I read the book. The book could stand alone, but I may have enjoyed it more if I’d read the first book, Garden Spells.
The women in the Waverley family are all endowed with special gifts. Claire can influence people’s moods and behaviors with the food she makes from ingredients in the Waverley garden. Her sister Sydney has a gift for doing people’s hair. Sydney’s teenage daughter Bay can tell where things belong, both where inanimate objects belong and also where and with whom people belong.
It is a time of great shift in each woman’s life. Apparently that’s always the case for the Waverley’s before the first frost of the year. Bay is dealing with the fallout after revealing to the popular boy in school that he belongs with her. Sydney is trying to cope with the possibility of never having another child, and Claire struggles to keep up with orders after her candy business is featured in Southern Living magazine. The exposure in the magazine is great for business, but Claire learns that not everyone who contacts her because of the magazine has good intentions of curing a sweet tooth.
This is essentially a story about family relationships, with the slight fantasy element of the special gifts each woman has. It is a light, breezy read. The major flaw for me is how easily and perfectly everything comes together in the end. Look elsewhere if you are looking for a book with a little meat. However, it is a perfectly serviceable mind-break read.
The most obvious read alike would be Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (the first book in this series).
I haven’t actually read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, but from what I know of the book, it has a similar premise (sisters, magic, the importance of family bonds).
Review by Olivia, Ericson Public Library