Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Babes in the Wood by Mark Stay

Hello, dear readers! Today I am stop on the Random Things tour for the second book in Mark Stay's Witches of Woodville series, Babes in the Wood!

It's July in Woodville and the Battle of Britain has officially begun. But overall, life in the village is fairly normal.

Faye, Bertie, and the rest of the bell ringers are returning home from an afternoon outing to Canterbury when they witness a plane crashing into one of the townspeople's houses. 

As the group works to put out the fire, Faye hears a cry for help and discovers four people trapped in a car. She's able to save them and quickly discovers that they're German. To be specific, they're Jews seeking refuge in Woodville. 

But shortly after their arrival, their guardian dies and Faye realizes that the children are in very grave danger from something other than the Nazis. And of course it's up to her to save the day. Again!

I don't think I can adequately express just how freaking excited I was about getting to be part of this tour! I reviewed the first book in the series, The Crow Folk, last February and even with toddler shenanigans (because we hadn't even started daycare/school at that point) it was a one day read for me. (Pre-toddler, it would absolutely have been one sitting!)

I adored it! And I've been anticipating the follow up ever since! And now it's officially here!

This one is set a month after the events of The Crow Folk and the town has not only recovered from those events, but they've become a bit indoctrinated to oddities now. But as much as they've gone back to "normal" there is still a war on. And things have changed accordingly. The bells, for example, are no longer allowed to ring. Much to the disappointment of the Saint Irene's Bell Ringers. 

And it would be fair to say that the arrival of four German Jews throws the town a bit. 

Faye begins the story playing hero once again. As mentioned above, they all dive in to try and control the fire that's broken out thanks to the plane crash, but when Faye hears the cries for help, she doesn't hesitate even if it means heading into a burning building! And she also puts herself between the townsfolk and the children when they hear the kids speaking German. 

From the start, Faye is experiencing something odd around the new arrivals. Visions of a sort, that only begin to make sense when the kids' guardian dies. 

I so love these books! I love the historical setting blended in with all the witchy magic and lore! The series just hits so many great beats in terms of things that interest me. Plus, the story is fun, there's a fabulous—light—creepy edge to it, and I genuinely care about Faye and everyone in Woodville!

And the writing is great! Absolutely great! Stay has clearly done deep research into the era that he writes about and he incorporates so many details that make these books so rich and real. (And yet another reason that we do care so much about Woodville.)

Babes in the Wood is out now from Simon and Schuster UK. Go forth and seek out a copy, good readers! And if you haven't had the pleasure of reading The Crow Folk as of yet, definitely grab a copy of that one too. You'll want to read them in order—and back to back. I promise you, you will not regret it!

I also highly recommend you check out Mark Stay's virtual launch video over on his website. And if you sign up for his newsletter, you get access to free Woodville extras!

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