Enchanted Autumn – Ursula Klein

Enchanted Autumn - Ursula Klein

“We all thought there was but one truth to believe, not knowing there was more than one truth.”

So we’re off to a fairly well-trodden start. Suddenly I remember I’m a grumpy, cynical old demiace and ask past me what I was thinking.

But actually, I get settled in pretty quickly. We start by getting to know Hazel & Roxy: best friends, lesbians, not interested in each other – got it.

That established, we start getting to know them as narrative moves through Hazel, Roxy and, later, Elizabeth.

I found liking Roxy difficult at first. She is clearly self-centred and somewhat arrogant and oblivious of others. Her surprise that Elizabeth doesn’t immediately fall all over her was off-putting, especially when she tries to force past those boundaries.

But when we see her through Hazel’s eyes – a people-pleaser, kind and warm – we are invited to see it as more of a spilling out of her exuberant nature. And though events later do dampen that somewhat, the overall picture on leaving the book is of a good, kind person who acts without thinking, but also puts the same energy into improving things and helping. 

Hazel is clearly written to be sympathetic. She is good, kind, aware, patient, understanding, and a bit of a doormat. She is very much what she appears to be on the surface (magic excluded), and she is working hard on fighting those people-pleaser instincts so she can think first, before answering – something shown to good effect with Camille.

Interestingly as well, though we begin with Roxy asking Hazel for a love potion – something she does so often Hazel is cutting her off after this one – we’re given a hard line of both parties needing to consent. Not only was that excellent to get ahead of, but if anyone else just thought “Chekhov’s Gun” – I was right there with you.

Elizabeth is practical and observant, but also kind and warm when she lets down her guard. As a pair, even the friendly charms of Hazel and Roxy are difficult to resist, and she quickly finds herself persuaded to hang out with them.

So we have the setup. And at this point I just crossed my fingers and hoped for a beautiful friendship between two lesbians (Hazel & Roxy), with neither “and the best friends realised they were soulmates” nor “jealousy over the new person drives them apart”.

As it goes, the first was nowhere in sight, and the second gets off on a technicality. But you’re gonna have to read it to figure that one out.

I surprised myself, actually, with how much I enjoyed this one. Klein has a very smooth and measured way of writing, that keeps you in and the plot flowing while it feels like nothing is really happening. Suddenly you’re at the end, and you barely seemed to start!

Klein clearly knows her characters deeply, and the focus on them makes up for a fairly sparse world around them. Aside from sketching out a couple of side characters, there’s not a lot of meat on that bone. But with the focus where it is, and the very enjoyable writing, that’s easily passed by.

I enjoyed this and I’d definitely read Klein again.

Enchanted Autumn was released on 15th Feb 2022, by Bold Strokes Books.

Want to buy? Great! Here’s Amazon UK and Amazon US, otherwise check your favourite store

(Note, I get a small bonus if you buy directly through my links – it helps pay for my site fees, but it doesn’t make any difference to my reviews.)




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