When Autumn Leaves
Amy S. Foster
Overlook, Oct 6 2009, $14.95
Avening is a small town on the Pacific coast; a magical hamlet populated by people with psychic powers. Autumn is a member of the group Jaen, who watches over humanity as they have even before mankind invented the wheel. She has spent a considerably long time in Avening, whose residents see her as a kind witch keeping track of the magical undercurrents that encourage natural gifts to bloom.
Now the Jaen has promoted Autumn and directed her to select and mentor her replacement; she has one year to pick from a group of fifty seemingly worthy people. She initiates a contest starting with an essay with the winner getting her Book of Shadows that contains magical knowledge that will enable the next witch to get off to a good start because first impressions are critical. On Autumn’s last day in town she has select twelve people to join the Jaen but finding the thirteenth who will be her successor and the leader proves more difficult. The clock is ticking with only hours left and Autumn doesn’t have a clue where to find the thirteenth.
There are many believable characters with a wide range of differing personalities and talents throughout the small town, but the star is Avening, a remarkable place that is the product of one woman’s dream. Even with a thin plot, this is a remarkably enchanting fantasy as each potentially chosen one brings differing magical skills to the table adding to Autumn’s dilemma. Character driven, fans who relish something dramatically different will encourage Autumn while singing the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did you ever have to make up your mind; Pick up on one and leave the other behind; It's not often easy and not often kind; Did you ever have to make up”.