First Frost

Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Series: Waverley Family, Book 2
Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,506 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sarah Addison Allen, beloved author of Garden Spells, returns with a luminous story of the trouble with hanging on too long, and the magic that happens when you finally let go.

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. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley's Candies, but it's nothing like she thought it would be, and it's slowly taking over her life. Claire's wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney's fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can't get it back.

From the author of the New York Times bestselling sensation Garden Spells, First Frost is magical and atmospheric, taking readers back into the lives of the gifted Waverley women - back to their strange garden and temperamental apple tree, back to their house with a personality of its own, back to the men who love them fiercely - proving that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It's where the real story begins.

©2014 Sarah Addison Allen (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as Garden Spells

I have read this series because First Frost is this month's selection for my local library book club. The earlier novel, Garden Spells, centered around Waverly sisters Claire and Sidney so I expected the sequel to follow that pattern. However, the main character in this book was Bay, Sidney's daughter.

For me this was a disappointment for two reasons. First, my favorite character is Claire and while her story was certainly continued here, it was not central. Also, while not giving away the plot, I will say that the resolution of the point regarding the stranger and his interaction with Claire was not credible to me.

Second, the prominence of Bay's story moved the series from being a woman's novel in Garden Spells into the YA category with First Frost. There is nothing wrong with YA novels and I have enjoyed a number of them. However, I was surprised at the shift here, especially after the mature themes addressed in the first book.

So after really enjoying the first novel, this one was a slight let down, hence my ratings. Also, the narrator was a bit shrill with some of the voices in this book.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Should have known better

What was most disappointing about Sarah Addison Allen’s story?

This is not a book for Grown ups. It is Teenage Lit. I loved Garden Spells. REALLY loved Garden Spells. I keep buying each new Sarah Addison Allen book thinking I will find another book that lovely, but each one sequentially has gotten worse and worse. I had hope that since she decided to go back to the Waverly's and write a Sequel to Garden Spells she would recover what was so enchanting about that first book. However, this is the worst one yet. I can't even finish it. There is no depth to the characters or the story. I really felt that I was wasting my time, I could not get engaged in this one at all. I.AM.DONE. with sarah Addison Allen books.

What didn’t you like about Susan Ericksen’s performance?

It reminded me of "Library Lady" reading a story to very young children

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom

Any additional comments?

Truly Disappointed

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Second Installment Left me Wishing for a Third

First Frost exceeded my expectation in continuing the myth and magick of the Waverly sisters. The descriptive prose makes me feel as if I am standing on the street in Bascom. As always, the narrator only adds to the story through the inflections and tonal distinctions of each character. This book is a listening pleasure.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Magic is Still There!

At first the story began kind of slowly and I was not sure I was going to like it as much as all of Sarah's other books but she snuck up on me and brought the magic through once again! She is one author I always look for Nd hope for more books! We all need a little magic in our life!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing.

Nothing in this book grabs your attention, I kept waiting for something to happen, it didn't. I did finish it, but I would not recommend it to anyone else.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Shallow and fluffy

What would have made First Frost better?

A different narrator would have helped, but the story was predictable and sometimes annoying, with one-dimensional characters.

Would you ever listen to anything by Sarah Addison Allen again?

Possibly. I liked Garden Spells well enough that I'd consider another one. The last two I chose were duds, though.

What didn’t you like about Susan Ericksen’s performance?

The cadence of her voice sounded like someone reading a story to kids. It was weird.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

My mind drifted a lot while listening, so I suppose one reaction was boredom. The other was irritation--mainly at the way the families are stereotyped. The people in this family *always* do this, the people in that family are always like that, the men in this other family always do this, etc. Ugh.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sorry to see it end

A great follow up to Garden Spells and I hated to see it end. A fantastic set of characters mixed with a cozy mystery. The first part of the book was mainly about Bay, one of the younger Waverley's, and how she and her special gifts are maturing. She has not been made privy to a back story that concerns her future and some old secrets are revealed. Claire has become a candy maker and people are clambering for her, sometimes life altering, wares except for the dark stranger who arrives in town. The Waverley's must band together to find out who he is, what he wants, and protect themselves from his bad intentions. A twist is added to the end that will affect them all in the next book.

Another great story filled with magical fun and of course the infamous Apple tree. The first blossoms are greatly anticipated by all except for maybe the men acquainted with the wonderful Waverley women. Highly looking forward to the next in the series. Sarah Addison Allen and narrator Susan Erickson make an enchanting pair.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great follow up

This was a great follow up to garden spells!!! Extremely well read and a wonderful story! Must read garden spells first.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not enough plot or story. I was not engaged.

This is a sequel to Garden Spells. I loved that book. In Garden Spells two romances began which were fun. In this book, there was a little bit of a teen romance starting, but not enough to make it a story. Most of First Frost just continued on with the lives of characters from the first book.

The fantasy in this series is a little magic from an apple tree and special talents that the Waverly females have.

CAUTION SPOILER:
David was an evil character in book 1. He died a terrible death after book 1. But neither book 1 nor this book tell the details about his death. I wanted to know more. I wish the author finished that.
END SPOILER.

AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
Susan Ericksen was ok, but at times her voice was too argumentative and irritating which did not feel right to me. It could have been softer.

OTHER BOOKS:
I’ve read the following books by this author.

5 stars. Garden Spells 2007
4 ½ stars. The Sugar Queen 2008
3 stars. The Girl Who Chased the Moon 2010
3 stars. The Peach Keeper 2011
2 ½ stars. Lost Lake 2014 (too much grief)
3 stars. First Frost 2015 (sequel to Garden Spells)

DATA:
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 296 pages. Swearing language: none. Sexual content: none. Setting: current day Bascom, N. Carolina. Book copyright: 2015. Genre: womens fiction with a little fantasy.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story; Ok Narration

This story was as charming as its prequel. I love that it's open-ended and can be added upon in later books.
I almost returned this audiobook because of the narration, though. I have misophonia, and certain sounds elicit either highly angry or highly anxious responses from me. I thought I'd be ok with this audiobook, but some of the narrator's pronunciation set my teeth on edge. Her "J"s, her "sh" sounds, and her "f"s were all breathy and windy. Her "J"s sounded like "ch" sounds. Her "sh" was pronounced like a whistly "s". Her "f" was barely pronounced at all, it was more just an exhalation of air. As you can imagine, this caused issues in a book titled "First Frost" with a main character named Josh.
I also felt that this book would have been better narrated by someone younger. You can tell just listening to the narrator's voice that she is of a certain age. I kept wondering why she was narrating a character who's a teenager and speaks for a large portion of the book when she sounds like my grandmother.
Overall a lot of the narration issues I had are probably not shared by others who don't have misophonia. BUT I suggest redoing this audiobook with a younger narrator.

2 people found this helpful