I'm feeling disappointed and a bit let down. After reading Garden Spells I went completely bonkers over SAA. I mean, I immediately got online and bought every hardcover book she'd written. The covers are all so beautiful, by the way. Having just finished Garden Spells, I couldn't wait to get to this sequel. I dove right in and I kind of dog-paddled around for 136 pages. FYI: I don't like dog paddling. This is not how I imagined the Waverley sisters, ten years after the first magical encounter. And, I'm afraid I must say: Perhaps perfection should not be tampered with. Some things are better left alone. Wait. Let me stop right here for one tiny pause of reflection. For those of you that read Garden Spells, you know what I'm talking about. How lovely was that book?! Magical, amazingly fragrant and imaginative are words I would use to describe my experience while reading. LOVED it! Obviously, or I wouldn't have purchased all the books.
In First Frost, I expected to find Claire happily baking away at the Waverley home. Sydney would be near by, sipping on a glass of lemon verbena tea. Both happy, happy, happy. Not so. Instead, I don't find my girls in their happy place. Claire's life has taken a semi-different turn and I don't think she's too thrilled about it. That instantly sets a tone of anxiety. Claire's life has lost some of it's magic, which also takes the magic right out of the book. Bye bye, magic!! At least Sydney is doing better and has finally accepted her Bascom roots. However, she's still keeping secrets and afraid of opening up to those she loves. Her daughter, Bay, is now fifteen and is falling in love for the first time. You'll never guess who she's falling in love with! Or will you? Here lies the problem for me; Bay. While I love Bay's character, I feel that her part of the story WAS the whole story. Too much highschool, a teen dance, teen this and that. I'm not in highschool and I haven't been in quite a while so a lot of this felt very YA'ish to me. Half way through the book and STILL very little about Claire, Sydney, and the kooky Evanelle. They were THE story!! Then, another problem for me was how repetitive SAA was about things that had already taken place. I feel as if she didn't trust me, a fan, to read the prequel and therefore spent too much time trying to explain things to me. YES! I did read it. And because I loved it so much, here I am reading the sequel. Trust me to understand. I get that author's have to appease readers that may not have read the first in a series but every little detail does not have to be reinforced. Too much time wasted there. By this time I'm 200 pages deep and feeling very ho-hum about my beloved Waverley gals. I miss the fun. The spells. The mood of the book seemed melancholy. Of course, that was the thing. Halloween and First Frost are once again returning to Bascom. It's the season of change for the Waverley's, when things go back to normal and the magical, often-misbehaving apple tree returns from it's dormant state and blooms overnight, spreading it's mystical branches to touch those it loves. Or...scratch those it doesn't. Until First Frost arrives, the sisters and their loved ones will deal with uncertainties about their futures. Difficult decisions abound. Also, a mysterious stranger arrives in town and he's stirring up trouble. Who was the person happiest to see First Frost return? ME!! As soon as it returned, so did the wondrous tale of Claire, Sydney, and Evanelle. The book does get better. I could once again smell the delicious aromas wafting from Claire's gifted kitchen. I wish First Frost wouldn't have taken so long to arrive. Had it arrived sooner, this book could've been just as magical.