In Avening, a tiny town on the Pacific coast, it's hard not to believe in magic. This is a town where the shoes in the window always fit, where you can buy a love potion at the corner shop, and where the woods at the outskirts of town just might be the door to another world. And, of course, there's Autumn, Avening's beloved resident witch. From what's known of its mythical founding, Avening has always been a haven for people who are a little bit different, a place where they can come to discover what makes them so special.
When Autumn receives news that she's been promoted to a higher coven, she also learns she has to replace herself. But who in Avening is in tune enough with her own personal magic to take over the huge responsibility of town witch? Autumn has a list of thirteen women and men who just might have what it takes-but how can she get them to open their eyes to the magic in their lives?
This endlessly surprising and heart-warming debut is the story of coming to terms with the magical things we take for granted every day-our friends, our community, and, most of all, ourselves.
Autumn has lived in Avening for a long time and she isn’t thrilled to be told that she needs to move on. They give her one year to choose and prepare a successor. They also give her a list of potential names chosen by their prophet. That doesn’t make Autumn happy. There are several women she’d consider who aren’t on the list and she hasn’t heard of several who are on it.
The book continues with a story about each woman that each takes place on a different holiday on the Celtic Wheel of the Year. Each of them has a different type of magical ability. Most of them don’t know that what they are able to do is actually magic. Only one has had any formal type of magical training. None of them know that there is a group of magical women who they may be asked to join.
This is a quiet book about the life of a town and the interior lives of some of the women who live there. It is about using your skills to achieve the greatest potential that you are able.
It's 1888, and seventeen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family--but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister--but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family's life. She soon realizes she's uniquely positioned to advance the cause--but to do so, she'll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.
In this version of 1888 New York, the Americans lost the revolution because they couldn’t overcome the British use of magic. Now the seeds of revolution are growing again. The Americans are relying on their ability to make steam powered and electric machines to fight the British.
Verity is just looking for a job as a governess when she meets up with a group of mechanics testing their latest invention – a bus that runs without horses or magic. Members of the group befriend her and introduce her to the revolutionary cause. They see her as an asset because she got the job as a governess to a powerful British family. They want her to spy for them.
I enjoyed this author’s Enchanted, Inc. series and couldn’t wait to read this book. I love the premise that the revolution failed because the British have magic.
I like the way that the romance was handled in this book. At first it seems like it is going to play a major part in the story but then it ends up focusing on Verity making decisions for herself not based on what the men in her life want from her. There is flirtation and it may play out more in future books in the series but she isn’t focused just on finding a man to marry. It is hard to pull that combination off but the author did a great job of it.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in the story.
About Shanna Swendson
Shanna Swendson is the author of the Enchanted, Inc. series, the Fairy Tale series, and Rebel Mechanics.