Avening is a magical town in modern-day British Columbia where magical humans and regular humans co-exist in harmony. Magic is part of everyday life and people do not even think twice about it, instead they fully accept and embrace it.
Autumn is a centuries-old sage woman (who who was “assigned” to Avening to help its people by providing wisdom and healing.) She is told that she has to leave Avening for good to pursue a new mission. She is given a month to find a new leader and members for Jaen ( her circle of magical women). She has to choose these members among the pool of Avening’s women.
I love magical realism although new age is not really my cup of tea. However, I enjoyed most of the stories in “When Autumn Leaves.” Each chapter is a short story of women and even young girls – each interwoven.
- Two married people (one happily married, one not) who found in each other the soulmate they did not really search for. They did not want to betray their spouses but the passion they felt were too consuming that it threatened to destroy their families. Autumn carved out a pocket of “magical time” for them where they could be together for two hours to celebrate their love. In return, they will forget each other when they wake up until they find each other again sometime in their lives. The “infidelity” did not really count because the hours were outside of “our time.”
- A children’s author who was dying of cancer but was instead transported to a magical place where her children will meet her someday but not her husband. Not heaven but a special place with special beings.
- A 17 year old girl who could teleport to talk to her rockstar idol.
- A woman who captured lightning in a bottle.
The stories were imaginative and definitely enjoyable. The small town of Avening in the fall was cozy. It felt like I was there during the Winter Solstice celebration.
Sadly, the ending was weak, trite and even preposterous. Some of the stories felt unfinished. The last chapter read like a didactic conversion to New Ageism.
Not my favorite book but I enjoyed it nonetheless.