Witches of Lychford (Lychford, #1)

By Paul Cornell

Rating: 4 stars

I’ve enjoyed Paul Cornell’s work for a while now and picked this up at an author talk during a literary festival. It features Judith Mawson, a grumpy old lady living in a village in the English countryside, who also just happens to be a witch. And the village of Lychford is no ordinary village either, but the lynchpin of the worlds, the very shape of the village helping to hold back evil. And now a supermarket chain wants to build a new store that would upset the topography and destroy the wards.

For such a short story, it’s a novella of only 140-odd pages, this packs a lot of detail. It deals with faith, and crises thereof, local village politics, town and country and more, as Judith gathers some unlikely allies in her fight against the supermarket.

The tension between old friends Autumn (a dyed in the wool rationalist and sceptic) and Lizzie (now the village priest) is very well drawn as old friendship fights with more recent woes that beset both characters, and colours their interactions with each other and Judith.

There’s a lot of warmth in this story, and real complexity in the subject of faith, both of the vicar, Lizzie, and the atheist, Autumn. I look forward to reading more of the adventures of the witches of Lychford.

Book details

ISBN: 9780765385239
Year of publication: 2015

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