Audio Book Review ‘First Frost’ by Sarah Addison Allen
A bit of magic and a lot of family support in a story with an emphasis on the positive. Sometimes it’s a pleasure to read a bit of fiction and appreciate a low-drama situation, even though, it’s obvious that circumstances are going to turn out for the best.
Hence, First Frost is a delightful story about a family of southern women, the Waverleys of Bascom, North Carolina. Raised by their agoraphobic yet, somewhat mystical grandmother, Claire and Sidney grew up in a house with family history passed down through several generations. Of course, this is not an ordinary home. A special garden occupies the backyard of the residence and although all of the flowers and herbs possess unique properties, the apple tree at the far-end is the source that fuels the magic that not only manifests in the plants, but also in the form of selective powers bestowed upon each of the Waverly women.
Unlike other trees, the Waverly apple tree begins blooming at first frost and if that isn’t bizarre enough, the tree has a personality with an attitude. Perhaps, the tree is home to the spirits of deceased relatives. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure; it is the wellbeing of the Waverly women that fuels the tree’s deeds.
Claire is a caterer and for a short while a candy maker, accordingly, her gift emerges in the divine creations that come from her kitchen, especially when she incorporates herbs and flowers from the enchanted garden. Likewise, Sidney is a hairdresser and after a new do, her clients leave her shop with miraculous acts of fate to follow. The sister’s aunt and two daughters also have marvelous blessings.
While these gifts are subtle, they are nonetheless significant, especially when the family of women unite in response to a blackmailer. Eventually they learn to move forward towards the future, and let go of the past.
Sweet southern fiction is often uplifting, but this story is exceptional. Filled with warm southern values, and diversity, it is rare in this genre to see modern evolution shamelessly coexist without judgement.