Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Witch in the Almond Tree and other stories Audiobook by C.S.E. Cooney

The Witch in the Almond Tree and other stories, C.S.E. Cooney; narrated by the author (Self-published, $4.99, digital download, 4.25 hr., unabridged) December 2020.

Many people have tried to embark on some kind of creative or crafty project during the pandemic; author/narrator Cooney chose to self-produce a recording of three charmingly erotic works. The result is a sweet and steamy distraction. The titular story concerns a brilliant, assertive, and fun-loving witch who travels from school to visit her mother, her new stepfather, and her handsome and adorably naïve stepbrother, only to discover them ensnared by a malevolent ghost. If she can’t break the spell, they’ll all be forced to reenact the grisly and Grimm tale, “The Juniper Tree”, in which an evil stepmother murders her stepson and feeds him to the boy’s father. “Witch, Beast, Saint” unabashedly argues that some men might be more attractive as Beasts, and that rescue can take on many different forms. Finally, “Braid­ing the Ghosts” is a more contemporary story of a lonely young woman trained by her selfish, sociopathic grandmother to capture and enslave ghosts – you can guess where she eventually finds some solace. C.S.E. Cooney is a gloriously lusty writer and reader, in all senses, whose joie de vivre shines through her writing and narration. I just can’t help but enjoy an author whose go-to solution to an apparent love triangle always seems to be a threesome.

Amy Goldschlager, Contributing Editor, is an editor, proofreader, and book/audiobook reviewer who has worked for several major publishers. She is a former curator of the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series. In addition to her Locus column, she has contributed to the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, AudioFile magazine, and ComicMix. She lives in Brooklyn and exists virtually at

This review and more like it in the April 2021 issue of Locus.

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyWhile you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.

©Locus Magazine. Copyrighted material may not be republished without permission of LSFF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *