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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

First Frost

1. Lush descriptions that involve all the senses, a trademark of Sarah Addison Allen’s writing, fill this novel. What are some of your favorite descriptions found in FIRST FROST? How do these descriptions help ground the world of FIRST FROST in reality, and at the same time create a sense of magic?

2. There are many different types of mother-daughter relationships in this novel. How did the absence of Claire and Sydney’s mother influence the choices they made, and the way they now parent their own children? In what ways do we see the relationship with their daughters change as Bay and Mariah grow up?

3. Henry and Tyler play important parts in the overall story. Being outsiders, as well as the only men in the Waverley family, they’ve formed a bond. How are each of their roles described throughout the novel? How are the dynamics of Claire and Tyler’s marriage both similar to and different from those of Sydney and Henry’s?

4. What do you think of the mysterious old magician? He disrupts the lives of many, but his backstory is a complicated one. Do you think he deserves a happy ending? What do you think about his comment about “balancing on moral cusps?”

5. The old magician seems to bring the colder weather with him when he arrives. How does the autumn season add to the atmosphere of the book? Why do you think the apple tree blooms in the fall, instead of losing its leaves like other trees? Do you think certain seasons bring about changes in us?

6. What do you think of the Waverleys’ magical “gifts?  When Claire sets aside her candy-making in order to cook a feast for their traditional first frost party, she seems to be reclaiming her gift, realizing that it was hers whether she had Waverley blood in her or not. And Evanelle tells Fred that he now has her own gift of anticipation, even though Fred isn’t related to the Waverleys. What do you think this says about the idea of nature vs. nurture?

7. The Waverleys aren’t the only family in town with distinct characteristics. What other families in Bascom are known for certain things?

8. In her note to Josh, Bay says that “we spend all our lives looking for puzzle pieces that will give us a clearer picture of ourselves, of where we’re supposed to go and who we’re supposed to be.” Identity and a sense of belonging are explored throughout the story. Which characters do we see struggle with identity and belonging? How do their journeys differ and how are they the same? What are puzzle pieces in your own life that create the picture of who you are?

9. How did you react to Sydney’s relationship with Violet? What drove Sydney to give Violet chance after chance? Were you surprised by what happened in the end?

10. Did you have any guesses as to what the story was behind Mariah’s friend, “Em?” Were you surprised when the truth was revealed?

First Frost
by Sarah Addison Allen

  • Publication Date: January 5, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250019850
  • ISBN-13: 9781250019851