I really struggled with what to chose as the book from my home country, Canada. I wanted something by an almost unknown author, something that few people over here would have already read, by an all but unheard of author. I pretty much found this in the book I chose – When Autumn Leaves was written by Amy S. Foster, who some people may have heard of, but for other reasons. Amy is the daughter of music mogul David Foster & is herself part of the music industry, she has worked with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Destiny’s Child, Solange Knowles, Eric Benet, Diana Krall, Josh Groban & Michael Buble, so she is an established writer, but of songs & poetry, rather than novels.
When Autumn Leaves takes place in the fictitious town of Avening, British Columbia & is about the Jaen, a religious order of sisters (or witches as some believe), who all have mystical powers. The story centres around Autumn Avening, the town sage/wisewoman/witch/shaman & her efforts to find her replacement, as she has been told by the sisters higher up than her, that her time has come to join them & leave Avening behind. Autumn is provided a list of potential women who the Jaen believe could be her replacement, which she rails against & in typical Autumn fashion, decides to do things her way, with her own list of candidates.
Autumn contacts the local newspaper & initiates a contest where the contestants have to write an essay about why they should be the winner, with the prize being Autumn’s book of spells. The remainder of the book is essentially short stories where you get to meet the women of Avening & learn about their magical abilities & learn about what a mystical place Avening is. When Autumn Leaves is a beautifully written book & shows off Foster’s talents as a prose writer. I think this kind of book could only have been written by someone with such a love for things poetic. I have seen reviews which likened this story to The Witches of Eastwick, or Practical Magic & they are not far from the mark. I could easily see this being made into a Hollywood blockbuster! All in all, I thought that When Autumn Leaves was an excellent book & I truly hope that more people discover this little gem!