“Witches of Lychford” by Paul Cornell

Here’s a book I chose at random to read. I forgot how I went about doing so, maybe I used a random number generator, or closed my eyes and pointed. Either way, it’s not a book I planned on reading anytime soon or was in the mood for or was told to read.

It was recommended to me through Rachel at Kalanadi’s review of it years ago. She’s a booktuber. I forgot what she said to entice me to read the story — maybe it was a simple mention of witches — but it got me curious enough to add it to my collection.


Fantasy — Paranormal


Lychford, book 1



Quick summary

The people of Lychford, a sleepy small town in the U.K. somewhere, are divided. A major supermarket chain would like to build a branch there, but some folks welcome the change and the employment opportunities it would bring, while others would rather things remain the same, authentic. Still there are others who see that the supermarket’s construction would destroy the supernatural boundaries in their town, opening up portals to others worlds — and the malevolent beings there.

Of course, not everyone in town is aware of this, but Judith Mawson, considered an odd, crotchety old woman, is sensitive to and aware of what’s happening to the town’s supernatural boundaries and realizes that the man in charge of bringing the supermarket to Lychford is a powerful demon. Realizing she’s not powerful enough to combat the demon’s efforts alone, Judith recruits Lizzie, the new reverend for the town’s church, and Autumn, an atheist owner of a magic shop who struggles with believing in the supernatural, to help her protect the town — from the supermarket. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

What I didn’t mention above is that this is a novella and is the first in a series consisting of five novellas. Although I chose at random to read this, it being about witches helped pique my interest (I’m always interested in stories about witches). However, so far the magic is quite subtle, and it took some time for me to believe that Judith is a witch, although heavy hints are dropped early on pointing out that she is.

I liked the story, but I completed it feeling as if I missed something. The story didn’t fully connect with me, its attempts to build intrigue didn’t fully work, and I thought the pacing was a bit too slow. I also didn’t care for any of the characters, except Judith, who immediately appealed to me. Her relationship with Autumn reminds me of Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick in Terry Pratchett’s Witches subseries of the Discworld books. It’s the same folksy witch versus New Age witch vibe, and common sense and tradition versus science and experimenting: the old versus the new.

I completed the book unsure if I will continue with the others in the series. This one didn’t engage me enough to think it worth continuing with the story in other books.

Overall: ★★☆☆☆ ½

I rate based on enjoyment. Is it worth trying? I’d say yes. It’s written well; I just didn’t enjoy it enough.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass


9 thoughts on ““Witches of Lychford” by Paul Cornell

  1. Sorry to hear this one didn’t work out that well. I like the title and the cover and given just those I’d be curious to read the book. But after reading the description I lost some of my interest. Not entirely sure why, but it didn’t resonate. Sounds like the story, itself, didn’t resonate with you, either.

    Funny, I just checked my ebook collection. I have a very bad habit of buying just about anything that’s on sale and looks even vaguely interesting, so I have a copy of this. Perhaps one day I’ll get around to trying it myself. 🙂


    1. Lol! I have a tendency to do the same since I don’t like buying e-books at full price (since we’re just buying temporary rights to own it, apparently — read that somewhere).

      Since it’s a novella that’s part of series, I wonder if the story begins to pick up in the next one, so I plan to read it too to see.


  2. The premise did sound interesting with all the mix of witches, demons, reverends and atheists. Sorry to hear that it didn’t quite might your expectations though.


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