The turning of the seasons always seems to bring a sense of magic. The blooming of flowers and trees in the springtime carrying the sense of rejuvenation and new beginnings, or the turning of the leaves and the blustery winds of fall that encourage curling up in warm blankets with hot cups of tea. Whatever the time of year, it is human nature to enjoy the change and take pleasure in the bittersweet feelings it produces.
Set in a fictional Washington town, When Autumn Leaves, by Amy S. Foster, addresses those feelings of regret and excitement people often face during particularly life-altering circumstances. Avening is recognized by its residents as being an unusual place to live. Oftentimes, the people witness or find themselves participating in strange and magical occurances, yet are never especially surprised. Perhaps it is because the town has mysteriously beckoned each resident to it like a siren, choosing only those with exceptional, often untapped, abilities. Not only does the town itself possess a hidden quality, but it appears to be the home of a mysterious spiritual group known as the Jaen. Autumn, the High Sister, learns her job is finished in Avening and now she must find her replacement. Though unhappy about the change, she knows it is necessary for her to move on.
When Autumn Leaves is a highly thought-provoking novel reminding readers that magic is everywhere. Though not an outwardly pagan group, the Jaen aren't represented as witches or mystics. They are merely aides to the human race. All of the sisters have magical qualities, but they are used to help the people of Avening, and the world, reach their full potential. Be that realizing their own special abilities or merely helping them through difficult situations in their lives. Although Foster never fully reveals exactly who the Jaen are or how they came to be and she blatantly tells the reader she has no intention of ever answering those questions, there is not a sense of unfinished business. The reader can easily turn the last page of the novel with a sense of fulfillment knowing that sometimes there just aren't any answers to some of life's questions and maybe you just need a little faith to embrace the changes.