Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Note: This review contains minor spoilers for the previous novel in the series, Garden Spells. 

She couldn’t change who she was, and she no longer wanted to, even if she could. She knew that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.

In Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells, Sydney Waverley came home to Bascom, North Carolina with her own stone embedded deep inside her. She escaped a dangerous relationship to return to her family and to her roots. She brought her daughter, Bay, to her family home where both relished a newly found security. Syndney Waverely begins building her world around her family’s heritage and the love of her life, Henry. Garden Spells wove this beautiful tale of the Waverley with sheer elegance.

The unexpected sequel, First Frost, picks up the story’s thread with the family settled and waiting for the first frost of fall and what it may bring.


The elderly Evanelle Waverley was born with a special ability, an inescapable family inheritance. Her skill was knowing what another person would soon need and presenting it as a gift. It was who she was and there wasn’t much to do but accept it.

It brings a strange old man, wearing a threadbare suit and carrying a rickety suitcase. He carries stories that may threaten the precarious security Sydney so carefully built. He’s an odd, dangerously weird character. The plot develops with him always at the periphery. 

The townspeople look askance at the family whose backyard apple tree grows a strange fruit that if eaten will show the eaters the moment of their death. It’s a mischievous tree that even throws its apples at the Waverley’s to get their attention. This adds to the lore of the family.

Rumors swirl about the town placing the Waverley family in their own magical realm. Rumor has it that each Waverley brings a unique skill, a talent or gift into the world. The trick to living as a Waverley is to accept yourself. This isn’t easy in a world where it’s a battle to be nobody but yourself, a world where the most desired quality is to be like everyone else. 

Sydney left Bascom to escape the odd fame that being a Waverley thrust on her. But, that same stone set deep within her couldn’t be pushed aside. Returning to her roots, she faces the challenges of building a life around who her family is.

First Frost continues the story of the mystically gifted Waverley family. The beautiful writing caught my imagination pulling it into a world as lyrical as a love poem. Sarah Addison Allen never disappoints. The prequel to First Frost, Garden Spells, set a high bar. I loved it and couldn’t imagine anything coming close to its perfection. First Frost met that bar. 

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