Skye McKenna: Hedgewitch (Welbeck Flame 2022)
Skye McKenna was born and raised in Australia. She always wanted to be a writer or illustrator. She liked to make up stories that took place in the remote and sparsely populated areas of Australia where she lived, but it wasn’t until she moved to England that she started writing seriously. She believes that we must experience adventures before we can write them down. In the United Kingdom, she fell in love with the British countryside, so her first novel, Hedgewitch, is also set here. In addition to writing, she works for a charity that tries to improve people’s lives by preserving traditions. In her work, she studies old maps and documents, and has been involved in organizing an exhibition about medieval magicians and alchemists, and she is currently working on a project about storytelling, poetry and songs.
Cassie Morgan has been waiting for her mother for seven years, when she can no longer stay in her bleak boarding school and runs away to find her mother. But the world outside of the school is more dangerous than she thought. Cassie has an unusual helper and reaches the magical village of Hedgely, named after the Hedge that runs next to it, which separates England from Fairyland. However, in the dense forest of the Hedge there are creatures eager to harm people, so the Hedgewitch must protect the village from them. Cassie begins to study magic in order to uncover the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.
The novel is a perfect fairy tale with wonderful creatures and friendly country houses and people. You can immerse yourself in the story, just like in the fairy tales of our childhood. The book is also a classic storybook from the outside: the cover was illustrated by Saara Söderlund, who I wrote about in The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson, and the interior illustrations were made by Tomislav Tomic, similar to The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell.
Hedgewitch is the first in a five-book series. The title of the next book will be Woodwitch and it will be published next March.