Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell. ★★★★
Lychford is a sleepy English hamlet currently divided by the proposal of the addition of a new supermarket. However, dark forces are at work behind the supermarket, and only Judith Mawson, local crabby old lady, knows that Lychford is the key point at the boundaries between worlds… and those boundaries are growing weaker.
However, Judith does not find herself alone in her quest to save Lychford and thus the world. To aid her, she has the help of the village reverend, Lizzie, and the purveyor of the town’s New Age supply shop, Amber. Together, these three women will fight to save Lychford.
Witches of Lychford is from the Tor novella line, so it’s a quick read. It clearly falls under the genre of urban fantasy, although I can’t figure out whether it has any connection to Paul Cornell’s urban fantasy book series. Either way, I think I might have liked this novella even better.
For me, the strength of this novella lies in its three central characters. Judith, Lizzie, and Amber all had their own personal crises that they were trying to work through in addition to saving the town. None of them feel like the usual sorts of heroines you encounter in urban fantasy, and Judith in particular stood out to me. I loved that the the focus of the book was on them and the friendships between these three women.
Witches of Lychford stands alone, although I gather that there’s a sequel novella. I’ve already added it to my To Read list and can’t wait to get my hands on it! If you have an interest in a quiet but strong urban fantasy novella focusing around female characters, Witches of Lychford is the story for you.