- Title: The Lost Child of Lychford
- Author: Paul Cornell
- Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/14/2018
**Spoiler Alert** I first starting reading this book months ago – and literally misplaced it. I recently found the book, started from the beginning and started to read – that was three days ago. I absolutely loved the book and finished it quickly. The Lost Child of Lychford is a sequel to Witches of Lychford and the second book in a trilogy. Lizzie, the Reverand Elizabeth Blakemore is getting ready for her first Christmas as Vicar of St. Martin’s in Lychford. She is under considerable stress and not in the Christmas spirit at all – and when she sees a young child in her church, at first she isn’t quite sure the child is even there. She talks to Autumn and Judith about it and realizes that she has seen a ghost.
Meanwhile, Judith is working in Autumn’s shop – but she isn’t the best person to be working in customer service. Judith is also hiding a big secret from her friends.
Lizzie finds the real toddler whom her ghost resembles, a young boy named Jaime, who has two loving parents and a stable home. It’s unclear why the only message the ghost gives Lizzie is “no hurt”.
Meanwhile, Autumn receives an email from Finn of the fairies, she opens it and he appears in her rooms and warns her something is wrong with the magical boundary around Lychford.
Judith, Lizzie, and Autumn start to investigate these two mysteries. But nothing seems to go to plan. When they visit the old tree stump, Judith can tell something is wrong – but she can’t vocalize what it is. Lizzie is so busy with various dinners, carol services, children’s pageants, and a wedding she doesn’t have much time to investigate. Lizzie even leaves as soon as Judith finishes her reading at the tree.
Judith takes Autumn out to the local pub in Lychford, for a night of “divination in beer”. Autumn plays along but clearly doesn’t understand what Judith is trying to do. That night, Autumn meets a man in the pub and goes home with him. Judith goes home as well and has an interesting experience with the ghost of her husband. Within moments – Judith is pulled inside her husband and trapped. Autumn wakes up with a naked man in her bed but scares him off with her intensity.
Lizzie meets with the couple who want to marry on Christmas Eve, and can’t quite put her finger on what is so unusual about the couple’s odd requests. As Lizzie falls deeper into a trance – Autumn becomes obsessed with her one night stand, and Judith disappears.
Autumn goes to visit Lizzie and finds her trying to harm her hands. The ghost insists, “Don’t hurt”. And Autumn realizes her need for her one-night lover is way too intense. Autumn casts an anti-love potion on herself to break the spell (after she and Lizzie visit the young man, Luke, to safely obtain some of his blood for the spell). The spell works and Autumn comes to her senses. They walk to Judith’s house and figure out she’s missing – informing her son, a local police officer. Autumn falls into the same trap as Judith, but Lizzie rescues her.
Lizzie gets back to the church and starts the rehearsal for the wedding. She doesn’t seem to find it odd that the couple has brought strange statuary into her church, nor that the best man is a shadow and the bridesmaids have glowing eyes. She doesn’t even object when she is told to use a ceremonial knife to stab a plastic baby doll. All along, though the ghost tells her – don’t hurt. Lizzie invites the ghost into her rooms, but this doesn’t make the ghost more communicative.
Autumn meanwhile thinks Lizzie is just fine and creates a potion to transfer power to the ghost. Then the young toddler, Jaime goes missing.
Everything comes to a head at Lizzie’s church, where Autumn interrupts a very odd wedding. Lizzie finally breaks free of her conditioned responses. She and Autumn chase after the couple who have Jaime hostage. They inform the police and head to the boundary. The two women confront the spirits, who intend on breaking the boundary, turning it inside out – and stopping time in Lychford. Autumn takes some risks and is able to get help from Finn and Judith. But it is Lizzie who stops the decapitation of Emma by Fairy troops, even though she’s some sort of supernatural creature, who prevents the breakage of the boundary. Judith is freed and the boundary is as before. The three women rescue Jaime and return him to the police and his parents.
This book was a quick read. It develops the three female characters from the previous book and introduces more intrigue in Lychford. I enjoyed it very much and will look forward to reading the final volume.