On sale 22 November from Tor.com. Sent to me by the publisher at no cost.
Previously in Lychford, three women discovered that Bad Things were going down in both a spiritual and literal sense in their village. Together, they managed.
Now, it’s some time later… in fact, it’s Christmas. So you just know something bad is going to happen. Lizzie is the pastor and she’s relatively settled; Autumn is still running her magic shop and she’s taken on Judith, ostensibly as her shop assistant but actually because Autumn is Judith’s apprentice in witchy business. And yes, something bad is happening. Whether it’s worse than the events of the first story is debatable; it certainly affects a few people more immediately, viscerally and unpleasantly than the attempted Evilness of the first story.
Like last time, Judith – the old woman who is cranky and impatient – is my favourite. I felt that she got a bit less airtime this time, although I haven’t actually compared the two; it was just my gut feeling. Nonetheless cranky ladies FTW; I love her practical get-it-done nature and her impatience with what she sees as uselessness. I also love that she is willing to work with the younger women and accept that there are other ways of doing things… eventually…. plus she clearly loves the town, and her son; everything she’s about is protecting the place, and indeed giving everything in the service of that. She takes her responsibilities very seriously.
Lizzie is a bit more fleshed out here than in the first story; she’s less burdened by guilt (as I remember it) and therefore (?causality?) able to act a bit more. Autumn, though, continues to be almost a cipher. She doesn’t get much character development or airtime (although she does make a tremendous sacrifice which Cornell writes nicely).
Again, I’m not sure that this is especially a huge contribution to witchy stories, but it’s engaging and well-written, fast-paced and enjoyable.