Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review: When Autumn Leaves

When Autumn, the mysterious shaman of Avening, solicits written entries from local women vying for a position as her apprentice, she's searching for her own replacement. But what, exactly, does Autumn do? the townspeople question. No one knows. Intuitively, everyone knows Autumn corrals magic. And so, one by one, curious letters arrive in Autumn's mailbox, each with a different woman's perspective on the job in question, what it might entail, and why she wants it.

In When Autumn Leaves, Amy Foster permits guarded entrance into Autumn's magical world, where women are trained to harness different magical gifts only to separate, and even less insight into the true purpose of the enchanted world she's envisioned. Leaving room for a sequel? A distinct possibility, though Foster's lack of clarity here may hurt the future of the franchise.

Will Autumn choose Sylvie, who recently lost her mother? Ana, a teacher in love with a married man? Ellie the invisible researcher? Stella, a healer who captures lightning in a bottle? Or another. The letters continue to arrive and, as each applicant's story twines into Autumn's, the story grows taut with suspense.

Foster creates an amorphously lovely town, one that strong women find curiously inviting for no singular reason. Slightly muddled and frumpy, though beloved, Foster's characters shine with crisp edges and clear purpose. If only the plotline could stand up to her character development.

A fun fall read with finely-tuned focus on the strength of women, though the real feat here is that, despite a tightly-wrapped ending, you'll wish there was more.

When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster
Overlook Press ($14.95)

October 1, 2009

Review based on a free copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher.


  1. Hey Christine,
    Amy Foster here. Thanks so so much for your insightful review. I get really annoyed when people are simply negative and mean (it's happened! twice!.) So I love that you had issues with the book and some constructive things to say about it.
    This is a series. And you are right, I did hold back. But a lot of that is because it took so long for this book to come out- I simply didn't know where I was going to take it so I had to be a little vague.
    Also, when I got too specific, my editor freaked out. She wanted this book to stand alone, without needing a series to lean on.

    Things are much different in the world of the Jaen Sisterhood these days. I'm really attempting to build a series based on sisterhood, community and magic. Though even after almost finishing book four, there's still a lot of mystery there. I'm working on plot. But I think, thankfully, practice has a lot to do with getting better at realizing it. Feel free to contact me on my webiste if you'd like-
    Thanks so much again,

  2. This novel is a magical and sweet story that is sure to appeal to women of all ages. I loved the characters and how the author played around with female archetypes, but mostly, I LOVED the setting! What a beautiful, sweet town this novel is set in.

    dsi r4