Book Review

Babes In The Wood – Mark Stay

I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Babes In The Wood today, the second book in Mark Stay’s magical Witches of Woodville series.


July, 1940

In a quiet village in rural Kent, a magical mystery leads to murder . . .

Woodville has returned to ‘normal’ after the departure of the Crow Folk. The villagers put out fires from aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain, and Faye Bright discovers that magic can be just as dangerous as any weapon.

The arrival of a trio of Jewish children fleeing the Nazis brings the fight for Europe to the village. When their guardian is found dead, Faye must play nanny to the terrified children while gathering clues to uncover a dark magic that threatens to change the course of the war. And she must do it quickly – the children have seen too much and someone wants them silenced for good.


Order here


Regular readers will know that I adored The Crow Folk, book one in the Witches of Woodville series (read my review here). Although this is only the second book in the series, something about it felt so welcoming and familiar it was like being greeted by an old friend, and there was a sense of coming home.

Mark Stay doesn’t hang about in throwing the reader straight into the action as a plane falls from the sky right into Woodville within just a few sentences. As often seems to be the case in Woodville, nothing is straightforward, and the arrival of some surprise residents soon sees a fascinating story unraveling, and plucky, spirited Faye finds herself right in the heart of things once more. I love Faye’s attitude to life and she is fast becoming one of my favourite literary heroines.

In balance with the drama that unfolds, the story of the kindertransport arrivals is beautifully told and my heart bled for them,  and there were also little nods to the pandemic which made the book and the experiences of the characters feel very relatable, for example, Faye’s glasses steaming up when she puts her gas mask on, Charlotte’s comment about how there is more death around but that magic can’t solve sorrow. As much as I am all about the magic, it is these touches that really ensured this book has a permanent place in my heart.

Once again, Mark Stay has produced a book that is utterly charming, sometimes funny, and sometimes a little bit scary. It was a joy getting to know more of the colourful Woodville residents, and I am excited to keep doing so in future books.


Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at





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