blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Babes in the Wood – Mark Stay

Read my review of The Crow Folk.

July, 1940

In a quiet village in rural Kent, a magical mystery leads to murder . . .

Woodville has returned to ‘normal’ after the departure of the Crow Folk. The villagers put out fires from aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain, and Faye Bright discovers that magic can be just as dangerous as any weapon.

The arrival of a trio of Jewish children fleeing the Nazis brings the fight for Europe to the village. When their guardian is found dead, Faye must play nanny to the terrified children while gathering clues to uncover a dark magic that threatens to change the course of the war. And she must do it quickly – the children have seen too much and someone wants them silenced for good.

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at markstaywrites.com.

My thoughts: I usually avoid Second World War fiction as it’s often either jingoistic or exploitative, but Mark Stay has handled it beautifully here. The three Jewish children are very much the heroes of the story, having been brought over on the kindertransport ship and protected by their cousin Klaus, they come to the unusual village of Woodville, hoping to find some peace.

Unfortunately for them, and Faye Bright, peace is in short supply and they soon find themselves in danger. But the village witches, Faye, Miss Charlotte and Mrs Teach, will do what they can to protect not only the children, but also a very special apple tree.

One of my favourite random facts is that all apples are descended from the original apples grown in Kazakhstan, which is relevant to this story. And that apples feature in lots of notable myths, legends and religions, tells you how important they are to humanity. Magda, Max, Rudolf and Nelson the dog will have to be very brave and clever to outwit some rather nasty people and save the day. Faye’s visions help guide events and her final one of the book, made me smile. It was filled with hope.

This series just gets better and better as the witches of Woodville grow in their strength and the village stands strong against a variety of evils.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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