LitStack Recs: Far From the Madding Crowd & The Lost Child of Lychford

The Lost Child of Lychford, by Paul Cornell

The hype and over-saccharined nature of the holiday season getting to you? Love the sentiment but are getting stressed by the constant, forced sentimentality? Then do I have a recommendation for you!

It’s the first “official” Christmas for the Reverend Lizzie Blackmore in the virtually picture perfect English village of Lychford. Lizzie knows, though, even at this time of ‘peace on Earth’ that there is far more to Lychford than meets the eye. In Paul Cornell’s previous novella, 2015’s Witches of Lychford, we were introduced to Lizzie along with her childhood friend, Autumn, and Lychford’s crusty old bizarro lady, Judith, caught up in a supernatural adventure that bound the three women together. In The Lost Child of Lychford, the three are no longer naive in the potential for malicious mischief that comes from a town at the apex of fantastical ley lines -but that doesn’t mean that they are ready for what happens next.

Author Paul Cornell is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and fantastical horror in prose, comic books, and television, and is one of only two people to be nominated for a legitimate Hugo Award for his work in all three types of media – and it shows in The Lost Child of Lychford. The action is fast yet imaginative, provoking and yet humorous (in places), relatable and yet horrific (in places). He knows how to keep a reader engaged and guessing, eager to turn the page to see what happens next, and you believe in his characters, both when they are at their most mundane, and when they are at their most heroic. Once again, this might be a slim volume in page count, but it’s definitely not small in any way.

I will say, that while it’s not necessary to have read Witches of Lychford before reading The Lost Child of Lychford, reading it first will give you greater insight into the three women that are at the center of both books – Lizzie, Autumn and Judith – and they are definitely worth knowing. But the story in The Lost Child of Lychford definitely can stand on its own. So if you like your eggnog mixed in with ghosts, wicked spells, and failing boundaries between worlds, pick up a copy of The Lost Child of Lychford, and prepare yourself for a story that has little to do with silent nights or joy to the world – but is so very, very creepily fun, no matter what time of year you read it.

Sharon Browning

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