The first thing that drew me to the book When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster was the cover. Although the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is well known and occasionally can be true, more often than not a books cover can say a lot about what it contains.
When I saw this book I immediately thought of that time in between Summer and Fall. I thought of the magical and the mystical. I also vaguely had thoughts in my head of one of my favorite movies (and book) Practical Magic. All of this without even touching. And I was mostly right.
When Autumn Leaves is about a magical town off the coast of Canada called Avening. A town where the folk celebrate Pagan holidays but are not necessarily Pagan. A town looked over by a mysterious woman named Autumn. Autumn is told that she must leave town by her elders, leave to pursue other adventures, and that she must find a replacement for herself. What follows are short vignets about the various women that Autumn is choosing between – their lives, their special gifts and their problems.
Foster’s writing is enchanting. I was drawn immediately into the book’s style and the characters are well written and intriguing (albeit sometimes predictable and caricature like). I wish that the novel had just been those simple vignets about the characters, maybe even a book of short stories instead of a novel. Because what makes the book truly fall apart is the outer story that these characters are a part of. I felt like the author didn’t know enough about the outer story and so it is confusing, incomplete and unnecessary. Not all novels need a major plot, sometimes just character stories are enough. As a novel there are too many characters to keep track of and place into the wider story. As a short story book it is better.
I’m not sure if I would recommend this book. I liked the overall feeling of it and I was sad that I finished it late at night as it made me want to be active and accomplish things. I enjoyed reading it and I will keep it on my shelf for perhaps another reading someday. But it wasn’t the best book in the world and it definitely had it’s troubles. I’ll leave it up to you, then, whether or not you think this book is for you or not.