On one of the literary podcasts I used to listen to the host always asked his guests whether there were any authors whose new books the guests bought as soon as the books were published without so much as a thought about the contents of the book. Sarah Addison Allen is one of those authors for me. Ever since reading her first book, Garden Spells I've been a fan. Any new book of hers is automatically added to my unread pile (or as the masses say, TBR list). This week I read First Frost and was once again transported to one of the small North Carolina towns in which Addison's books take place.
First Frost is a sequel to Garden Spells. Ten years have passed. Claire runs a successful candy business and is slowly drowning unhappily in work. Sydney is desperate for a baby boy. Claire's daughter Mariah has a mysterious new friend. Sydney's daughter Bay has a crush on boy. All of the Waverly women have a bit of magic. Claire's concoctions never fail to make people something, be it love, lust, or the need to tell the truth. Sydney's hairstyling can truly make or break a person's day. Bay always knows where a thing or person should be. Sometimes the Waverly gifts have a way of getting the Waverly women into trouble, but the gifts also lead them out.
The plot of First Frost is simple and to be honest, not the most compelling aspect of the novel. What's stands out are the characters. That, and the mood. Allen doesn't just tell a story, she creates a mood, an atmosphere, a reality. Her characters come alive, I feel like I could know them. I wish I could live in one of Allen's novels for a week eating fig and pepper bread and sitting under the Waverly apple tree, provided it allowed me to sit there and didn't throw apples at me.
This is what I could call "un-put-downable." I grabbed a late breakfast after my morning workout and read this book while waiting for my meal. I ended up spending an extra hour at the diner because I was so caught up in the story. Before I knew it, it was over. I hope Sarah Addison Allen writes another book soon.