The entire population of an English village comes together to protect the privacy of the newest resident.
Ex-pat American Lori Shepherd, her attorney husband and their two horse-crazy sons live on the outskirts of the Cotswold village of Finch. Lori is just one of the many residents casually hanging about to see the arrival of newcomer Amelia Thistle. Two of Lori’s artistic friends soon identify Amelia as Mae Bowen, a famous artist who formerly lived in a gated house to escape her rabid fans. Lori breaks village tradition by paying an uninvited visit to Amelia, who’s still grieving the loss of her husband and brother. Amelia has come to Finch determined to recover the rest of a missing manuscript her great-grandfather had discovered in which Gamaliel Gowland, the 17th-century rector of Finch’s church, describes Margaret Redfearn, presumed to have been a witch. Once Amelia reveals her identity to several people, Lori, the current rector and his wife, and Lori’s father-in-law, who’s smitten by Amelia, join in the hunt. Not only do they have to decipher the cryptic clues they find in each newly discovered page, but they must also protect Amelia from the fans who have tracked her down. Even Aunt Dimity, a spirit who communicates with Lori by writing in a special book, gets into the act with her usual sage advice.
Although there’s little mystery in the traditional sense, the hunt for historical artifacts adds spice to one of the most charming adventures of Lori and Aunt Dimity (Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree, 2011, etc.).