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Customer reviews & ratings

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Average Rating:(4.3)out of 5 stars
60 ratings
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Most helpful positive review
1 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
What can I say except ...
What can I say except First Frost is just another example of Sarah Addison Allen's writing talent!! I absolutely loved this book and it brought me right back to the memory of when I was first introduced to the Waverly sisters. I love how the author never fails to incorporate a little magic into everything she writes. Her books make me feel uplifted and leave me with that "anything is possible" type of feeling. Her writing always provides us with beautiful quotes from her lyrical and poetic words, and I will never tire of the author's enchanting stories. I highly recommend ALL of Sarah's books to anyone who can appreciate a little magic in their lives and enjoy reading books that leave a smile on your face even after you have closed the back cover. I do recommend that you read Garden Spells first to get the complete story of the sisters. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review such an exceptionally wonderful story!
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
I was the lucky recipi...
I was the lucky recipient of a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. Thank you! This book begins roughly 10 years after Garden Spells. I enjoyed that one a bit more, although it was only 3 star rating. This book had a rather predictable storyline, but it was good for a quick, easy read. I enjoy Evanelle's character. I was glad she was still kicking at the end of the book! I enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen's beautiful writing, but the storylines could have been more interesting.
Most helpful positive review
1 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
What can I say except ...
What can I say except First Frost is just another example of Sarah Addison Allen's writing talent!! I absolutely loved this book and it brought me right back to the memory of when I was first introduced to the Waverly sisters. I love how the author never fails to incorporate a little magic into everything she writes. Her books make me feel uplifted and leave me with that "anything is possible" type of feeling. Her writing always provides us with beautiful quotes from her lyrical and poetic words, and I will never tire of the author's enchanting stories. I highly recommend ALL of Sarah's books to anyone who can appreciate a little magic in their lives and enjoy reading books that leave a smile on your face even after you have closed the back cover. I do recommend that you read Garden Spells first to get the complete story of the sisters. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review such an exceptionally wonderful story!
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
I was the lucky recipi...
I was the lucky recipient of a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. Thank you! This book begins roughly 10 years after Garden Spells. I enjoyed that one a bit more, although it was only 3 star rating. This book had a rather predictable storyline, but it was good for a quick, easy read. I enjoy Evanelle's character. I was glad she was still kicking at the end of the book! I enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen's beautiful writing, but the storylines could have been more interesting.
9781250019851
60 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

What can I say except ...

What can I say except First Frost is just another example of Sarah Addison Allen's writing talent!! I absolutely loved this book and it brought me right back to the memory of when I was first introduced to the Waverly sisters. I love how the author never fails to incorporate a little magic into everything she writes. Her books make me feel uplifted and leave me with that "anything is possible" type of feeling. Her writing always provides us with beautiful quotes from her lyrical and poetic words, and I will never tire of the author's enchanting stories. I highly recommend ALL of Sarah's books to anyone who can appreciate a little magic in their lives and enjoy reading books that leave a smile on your face even after you have closed the back cover. I do recommend that you read Garden Spells first to get the complete story of the sisters. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review such an exceptionally wonderful story!

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

In this long awaited s...

In this long awaited sequel to "Garden Spells", we are taken back to the town of Bascom, North Carolina. Ten years have passed, but some things remain the same. The Waverly women still live and love there. Now they wait for the "first frost" of the season to set the world back in balance for them. For generations, each Waverly woman has possessed a special gift or talent. Sisters Claire and Sydney have successful businesses in town. Claire runs an organic bakery, while Sydney owns a hair salon. The area locals have come to rely on their unique talents. Now, the next generation of Waverly women is dealing with history and tradition. Sydney's daughter is a teenager exploring feelings, including first love. Claire's young daughter is just learning about the Waverly colourful history. Some things in Bascom, N.C. have changed, however. A mysterious older man has come to town. He seems to be stalking the Waverly sisters. He has both secrets to share and a mission to accomplish. Sarah Addison Allen never disappoints. Her special talent is in telling magical tales. Each of Sarah's novels is a welcome treat, sweet and special. If you have not read "Garden Spells", now it the perfect time to do so. Then do not miss "First Frost" to complete this delightful story.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I got a copy of this b...

I got a copy of this book to review through the NetGalley. I read Garden Spells back a couple years ago and absolutely adored it. I was so excited when I heard that Allen was writing another book about the Waverly family. This ended up being a spectacular book. I would recommend reading Garden Spells first because it really helps to have all the background on all these characters. I don't think the book will have as much impact if you don't have that background. This story focuses on three women in the Waverly family and is set many years after (I think it was 10 years after) the events in Garden Spells. Claire Waverly has started a new venture that uses the garden magic she is known for, she is running Waverly's Candies now. However things are starting to spin out of control and Waverly's Candies is so successful it is completely taking over her life. Sydney has settled into a happy marriage with Henry and has put her first abusive marriage behind her. Still Sydney is struggling with the fact that she wishes she could have another baby, a baby for her and Henry to call their own and it's just not happening. The character we hear the most from though is Bay, Sydney's daughter. Bay's magical ability is to know where things belong. This ability backfires when she meets a boy at school, Josh Matteson, and knows that they belong together in some way. Unfortunately the Matteson and the Waverly families have history and it's not good history. In addition to all the above a strange man drifts in that is tied to Claire and Sydney's mother's past and he end up causing even more chaos. This book (along with Garden Spells) is often classified as "women's fiction". I guess it kind of is, but is also a beautifully written story with lots of magical realism and some mystery. This story does feature the trials of women in their mid 30's as they struggle with balancing jobs, husbands, kids...and magic. However this book has a bit more of a young adult flavor to it as well because Bay features in the story so much. Bay is dealing with some very normal (and also some not so normal) growing pains, she is 15 years old and still learning who she is. I really love the beautiful writing style throughout the novel. There is excellent imagery here and it really makes the scenes come alive; you can almost smell the candies and taste the autumn in the air. I also love the interactions between these families. There is a lot of conflict here but it is resolved by the characters being supportive and understanding of each other. I love the fact that each of these women has one very specific magical ability that influences her life in a crazy way. While this book does have a more YA tone to it at times, I think a lot of the issues dealt with are ones that grown women will relate to a bit more. Sydney is struggling to raise a girl that is nothing like her and is upset that she isn't able to get pregnant. Claire is excited about the success of her business but concerned by how much time she has to take away from her family to run it. There are other characters that flit in and out of their lives. A character that is close to dying, a character that is trying to recover after betrayal from his partner of many years, a teenage dropout with a baby that is struggling to get her life together, and an old con artist that is sick of conning people but not sure how else to live. I really enjoy how all these life stories weave in and out of the Waverly's lives. Overall this was another fantastic book by Allen. If you loved Garden Spells I think you will really enjoy this book. I would recommend both books to people who enjoy a beautifully written story about women struggling to make it through day to day life...but with the added twist that there is magic in their lives that provides unexpected and crazy influences. This was an excellent read and very hard to put down.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I adored Garden Spells...

I adored Garden Spells and was delighted to renew my acquaintance with the Waverley family in First Frost. As the first frost approaches, the Waverly women are growing increasingly restless. Claire, who is running a successful candy business, is starting to doubt herself, Sydney is yearning for a baby as her hair gets redder every day, her daughter, fifteen year old Bay, is struggling with unrequited love, and all the while a silver haired stranger is lurking about town. The plot is a little predictable yet it doesn't seem to matter. I enjoyed the hint of mystery, the family drama and the light touch of romance. And of course the story is enhanced by the magical whimsy of the Waverley gifts. Claire's candy evokes happiness and contentment, Sydney's haircuts give people luck, and Bay simply knows where things, and people, belong. Written with warmth and heart, First Frost is an enchanting story of family, forgiveness, acceptance and love. It can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading Garden Spells first.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I loved the first book...

I loved the first book about the Waverly Sister's called Garden Spells and this book is just as good, if not better. It's autumn and Claire, Sydney and even Evaline Waverly are a little on edge waiting and hoping knowing something big is going to happen before first frost when their apple tree blooms for the first time in the year. Of course since it's the Waverly's there's magic - which comes from a very unexpected person, or rather from three unexpected people.Sarah Addison does a superb job of writing about anticipation and about the doubts we all have waiting for that one big thing to happen. She also does an amazing job of connecting the characters in the story and those characters to us, her readers. After reading her stories I am again left feeling more hopeful and open to that special magic that happens when you believe anything is possible.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Welcome back to Bascom...

Welcome back to Bascom, North Carolina, home to the mystical Waverley family. Claire is married and has a daughter. Prior to her marriage to Tyler, her reputation as a caterer was set, but Claire has veered away from catering and is now making candies. Sydney has purchased the hair salon and has married Henry. Both sisters have seen their dreams fulfilled with careers, loving spouses, and a great family, yet both are yearning for something more. While the family eagerly awaits "first frost" (a truly magical time for the Waverley family), a stranger comes to town. What does his visit mean for the Waverleys in general and for Claire specifically? Claire is happily married. She's also happy that her daughter doesn't appear to have any of the Waverley magic. Claire's previous catering business was beloved by all around Bascom. Her candy business is just as beloved, but is more time-consuming and emotionally draining than she had thought possible. In Garden Spells, Claire was unsure of herself but knew that her Waverley magic was found in food and the flowers she incorporated into her cooking. After finding one of her grandmother's cookbooks filled with candy recipes, Claire starts making candies using Waverley flowers. Claire is lost and foundering somewhat with this new business. She doesn't have time to cook for her family and is no longer taking an active role in her daughter's extracurricular activities. Sydney's magic is in hairstyling. She is no longer the pariah in Bascom, but a successful business woman and happily married to Henry. The only thing that Sydney yearns for is a child, preferably a son. Her desire for another child even has her latching onto the child of her receptionist. Sydney's focus is so centered on her desires that she misses out on what is going on with her daughter Bay. Bay has always known where everything belongs, and she knows that she belongs with Josh Matteson . . . yes that's the son of Hunter John Matteson, Sydney's high school beau. First Frost is another delightful read from Ms. Allen. This return to Bascom and the Waverleys answers questions that many readers had about Claire, Sydney, Bay, and Evanelle, and raised a few more. This time around Claire is questioning whether she has any Waverley magic and if she is truly a Waverley. Sydney is so caught up in her own desire for a child that she has missed quite a bit of what is going on with the child she already has. Evanelle is still living with Fred, but she is suffering declining health and has passed her Waverley magic of knowing what someone needs onto Fred. I found First Frost to be a fast-paced read. The primary characters are the female members of the Waverley family, but the reader is also given insight into the mysterious stranger visiting Bascom. Does Claire find the answers she's seeking? Will Sydney be able to give Henry a son? Does Bay get the boy she wants? I could answer those questions for you, but I'll simply say this . . . grab a copy of First Frost to read and find the answers for yourself. If you haven't already read Garden Spells, grab a copy of that and read it before you read First Frost. If you've already read Garden Spells, then you'll definitely want to get your copy of First Frost.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Magical realism is why...

Magical realism is why I read Sarah Addison Allen. That and good stories. The first of her books that I read, was the first one she wrote. Garden Spells, was light and airy and simply delightful. Come to think of it, those are the same adjectives that I would use to describe each of the books she has written, including First Frost. I fall in love with stories, and with characters, and this author know how to write about lovable and interesting characters. They are all ordinary people, living ordinary lives, except that they all have a wee tinge of magic within them. of course, i believe that this is true of all of us, some just recognize it and make use of it, other let it lie dormant and it only shows up once in a while when it is most needed, but that's another story. This story, First Frost is about the Waverly family. Each of the women in the Waverly family has a gift, a little something extra. Some might call it a knack. But really, they just recognize that touch of magic within themselves, and they use it. The women and girls in this story are Claire, and her young daughter Mariah. Then there is Sydney, and her teenaged daughter Bay. Evanelle and Mary appear as well, Evanelle in this world and Mary in the next. Just as the summer really comes to an end is a time when things in the lives of the Waverly's tumble around and make life a little difficult for a while. This time of uncertainty comes to an end when the apple tree in the garden of the Waverly house, where Claire and her family live, blooms along with the first frost. That an unusually magical family should live with an unusually magical and might I add wise, apple tree is no surprise. When the Blooms make an appearance the family gathers beneath its boughs and the world begins to come right again. Sometimes in very surprising ways. As always, when you read a book by Sarah Addison Allen, there is a little take-away that you might not expect. A wee bit of wisdom, or maybe just a feeling of not feeling quite so alone. I recommend this book. in fact, I also recommend all of her books for anyone who likes a good story and wants to read a book that will allow you to close the book with a smile on your face.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

The Waverley saga cont...

The Waverley saga continues in this tale of magic and romance. Bay has fallen in love, but with a boy her mother, Sydney, disapproves of heartily. Claire is given to doubt her ancestry, and Sydney is fearful of not having more children. A new venture of candy making has taken Claire from she really likes to do: her catering business and cooking for her family. And a stranger threatens to disturb this family with unsettling news. A delightful tale full of hope and magic and perfect for anyone wanting to escape their own world for a while.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

First Frost by Sarah A...

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is a sequel to Garden Spells, and those who loved that one will love this one. It's autumn in Bascom, North Carolina, and the Waverley women's apple tree is playing its tricks again, making Claire and her daughter Mariah and Sydney and Sydney's daughter Bay antsy and unsettled, waiting for the first frost that always manages to bring some peace. Claire's having national success with her "Waverly's Candies", with such flavors as lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe. But it's keeping her from her mystical gift for baking and driving her life away from what's made her happy. Sydney is longing to have a baby, to the point where she can think of little else. Meanwhile, high schooler Bay knows she's fated to somehow be close with a boy from a wealthy family which dislikes the Waverlys. Then an ex-circus performer shows up from out of town claiming to know more about Claire's history and family than she does. Allen once again casts an enchanting spell in Bascom as the Waverly sisters struggle toward the first frost, and their men quietly support them. This one lived up to its predecessor and made for a fine mid-winter vacation. Here's hoping the author returns to Bascom for more stories from the Waverly sisters and their children.

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Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

I adore Sarah Addison ...

I adore Sarah Addison Allen. I read Garden Spells on the recommendation of a friend and immediately went and bought all of her others. Each one was fantastic and just what I was looking for: that bit of magical realism, the kind that's so subtle you almost miss it, the descriptions and attention to seasons and nature. It's like she knows exactly what I was craving and put all of it into her novels. So I was excited when I heard she was coming out with a new one - and a new Waverley, no less! I immediately requested it from the library and waited impatiently for the waitlist to be whittled down (starting from 160, in case anyone had doubts of Allen's popularity). However, I was honestly a bit disappointed with First Frost.First Frost has Claire running a thriving candy business and is mother to a daughter who barely makes an appearance; Sydney is barely heard from except to chide her daughter, Bay. The real star of the show is Bay herself - and she is delightful. Her unique Waverley talent is knowing where everything belongs, which is handy for putting away dishes, but also causes her to be frustrated when she knows that a boy is supposed to be with her. It's a sweet, interesting plot line, and Bay is one of those few teenager characters who isn't absurdly precocious and/or horribly annoying. So why was I disappointed? Two things struck me. One was Claire's plot line: Claire begins to doubt the Waverley magic, and with it, her identity. This could have been a fantastic chance for character development, but it was tied into an old man's mysterious appearance in town. The book puts so much emphasis on building the tension surrounding the old man - Who is he? Why is he there? - that the actual reveal and resolution were anticlimactic to say the least, which in turn weakens Claire's storyline. The second is that what really makes me love magical realism is that it relies on faith of the reader. Truly fantastic magical realistic books never come out and say, "This is real magic" like fantasy novels do; they're subtle, to the point that you could easily believe that maybe it isn't real at all, maybe it's a coincidence. Maybe Sydney doesn't have any preternatural gift of cutting someone's hair to give them confidence; maybe they just believe she does, and so it works. And truthfully, that doubt is what makes Claire's struggle so much more intriguing - it's edging into meta territory, which gave it the potential to be even more engaging. It's up to the reader to believe in the magic - and most of us who read these do want to believe in magic, even if it's just the little, ordinary kind that comes with the scent of fresh-baked bread or the new confidence that comes from a new haircut. First Frost, however, breaks tradition and comes right out and says, "This is real magic." Sydney and Claire's mother apparently had her own gift, one that can't be explained any way except they really are some kind of weird witch family. It takes some of the mystery away, and with it, sadly, some of the charm.That said, Allen's language is possibly even more beautiful than ever. She has such a gift for describing seasons and emotions in dreamy, wonderful language, and that talent absolutely shines in First Frost:"Autumn felt like the whole world was browned and roasted until it was so tender it was about to fall away from the bone." (65)The more I read it, the more I love that quote.For fans of the Waverleys, you may be disappointed by the story, but the characters and the writing are as beautiful as ever.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I loved the first book...

I loved the first book about the Waverly Sister's called Garden Spells and this book is just as good, if not better. It's autumn and Claire, Sydney and even Evaline Waverly are a little on edge waiting and hoping knowing something big is going to happen before first frost when their apple tree blooms for the first time in the year. Of course since it's the Waverly's there's magic - which comes from a very unexpected person, or rather from three unexpected people.Sarah Addison does a superb job of writing about anticipation and about the doubts we all have waiting for that one big thing to happen. She also does an amazing job of connecting the characters in the story and those characters to us, her readers. After reading her stories I am again left feeling more hopeful and open to that special magic that happens when you believe anything is possible.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I loved the first book...

I loved the first book about the Waverly Sister's called Garden Spells and this book is just as good, if not better. It's autumn and Claire, Sydney and even Evaline Waverly are a little on edge waiting and hoping knowing something big is going to happen before first frost when their apple tree blooms for the first time in the year. Of course since it's the Waverly's there's magic - which comes from a very unexpected person, or rather from three unexpected people.Sarah Addison does a superb job of writing about anticipation and about the doubts we all have waiting for that one big thing to happen. She also does an amazing job of connecting the characters in the story and those characters to us, her readers. After reading her stories I am again left feeling more hopeful and open to that special magic that happens when you believe anything is possible.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

The Waverley sisters ...

"The Waverley sisters had married men as steadfast and normal as the women were mercurial and strange. The men in their lives loved them the way that astronomers loved stars, loved the promise of what they were, knowing there was something about them they would never truly understand." Okay. This is a lovely addition to the Garden Spells story. I have to admit that I was very excited when I heard that it was a follow-up to one of my favorite books, but also a bit nervous because I really love the original story. There is not one wrong note here. She picks up the story ten years later and gets it just exactly right - we get to revisit all of the characters from that first book, and they have aged appropriately and yet remained true to their original identities. I don't know how she did this, but I am thankful for every word of it - just as magical as that first time around, and now I have two books to read over and over again. Thank you, Ms. Allen! Favorite quotes: "A woman's ability to surprise herself is far stronger than her ability to surprise others." p.33 "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." p.72 "Some people you can be yourself with, some people you have to be less weird with." p.115 "The right men make all the difference in the world. But the wrong men do, too." p.226 "She wished she had known back then. Known that happiness isn't a point in time you leave behind. It's what's ahead of you. Every single day." p.228 "Maybe you don't fall in love. Maybe you jump. Maybe, just maybe, it's all a choice." p.275

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Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars

I was the lucky recipi...

I was the lucky recipient of a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. Thank you! This book begins roughly 10 years after Garden Spells. I enjoyed that one a bit more, although it was only 3 star rating. This book had a rather predictable storyline, but it was good for a quick, easy read. I enjoy Evanelle's character. I was glad she was still kicking at the end of the book! I enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen's beautiful writing, but the storylines could have been more interesting.

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Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

This was a nice follow...

This was a nice follow up to Garden Spells. About a decade has passed since meeting the Waverly sisters, their apple tree and Bascom, NC. It's the week before the first frost, and Claire, whose catering business has fallen to the wayside with a candy making venture is overwhelmed, Sydney's hair showing her stress and Bay is now a fifteen year old high school student. How they all come together in the face of this chaotic week is the main focus of the story, told in alternating chapters and with plenty of the quirky townspeople in attendance.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

First Frost by Sarah A...

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is the continuation of Garden Spells. Ten years have passed since Garden Spells ended. Clare has married Tyler and they have a daughter, Mariah. Sydney and Henry have married and Henry has adopted Bay. Clare has started a candy company called Waverly Candies which has become quite popular thanks to a magazine article. Bay has entered high school and fallen in love. However, the first frost is coming up soon and it is a stressful time for the Waverly girls. They always get a little frazzled and out of sorts before the first frost of the season when the apple tree will bloom again. Read First Frost and enjoy the reading about the lives of the Waverly's. I love Sarah Addison Allen's books and First Frost was no exception. It was a delightful story to read and I did not want it to end. I am glad that the author gave us another book about the Waverly's. The sad part is that we have to wait at least another year for a new book by Sarah Addison Allen! I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I really enjoy reading...

I really enjoy reading Sarah Addison Allen's books. The characters are well rounded and are not perfect, yet they are likeable and tend to have qualities I can relate to. In this story, the main character is a young girl struggling to find herself in a world that is changing around her. She shoulders the worries of her changing and evolving family members as they struggle for their own peace and acceptance of their lives and surroundings. At the same time, she is a teen who knows her own mind and wants in life, but stands out as odd because of the stigma of who she is and her own honesty.I received this as an e-version NetGalley, and I am grateful to have read it. It was easy to read, engrossing and captivating.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I wasnt quite sure if...

I wasn't quite sure if I was ready to settle down into another tale of the Waverly's but it didn't take long for me to get invested once again in this magical, quirky, unique family. There's enough backstory to make them feel like old friends if you've read previous books, but if this is your first you can pick right up and not be lost. When I don't want a book that's too heavy it can be hard to find something that isn't poorly written or ridiculous chick-lit over the top romance with with one dimensional plots and heroines. Sarah Addison Allen never disappoints.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

3.5 Everyone need a li...

3.5 Everyone need a little magic in their life and that is exactly what I receive when I read this author. A return to the Waverly's of Garden Spells, this amazing family all with their own individual special talents. Who wouldn't like to have an apple tree that tosses apples at those she feel are interfering, which blooms at first frost and signals new beginnings, like a reset button? Doors that stick or won't open a all if they do not want to let someone in. Wonderful characters, enchanting story lines. Light, feel good reads, this author has mastered the art of writing this type of book, a book that entertains and surprises. ARC from NetGalley.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Sarah Addison Allen is...

Sarah Addison Allen is a queen of magic realism. She and Alice Hoffman weave spells so very rich and enticing. With wonderful, soft images, we learn of the Waverly sisters, Sydney and Claire, who follow the Waverly tradition of being known for their excentricities in the small college town of Boscom, North Carolina. An Apple tree that blossoms in the fall instead of the spring, candy that is made using lavender and lemon verbena, children wished for and children received, friendships that bloom, as the air is filled with expectation. This was a wonderful journey of mystery and soft, wonderful images that left me longing for more pages. That is the beauty and artistry of Addison Allen, while reading the pages, hoping to learn what is next around the bend, I hate for the book to end. No amount of description could suffice to explain this magical book. Read it and enjoy! Four Stars!

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