For some reason, I never got round to reading the two books which follow this one, so I’ve reread this one now. It’s a very short novella — shorter, I think, than the two which follow — and so it was a very quick read. Some of the novelty has worn off from Elora Bishop’s work to me; there was a magic the first time I read this in it being some of the first unrepentant lesbian romance I read, and I think I liked it more for that. Bishop’s introduction about the lack of queer people in the books I read as a child ran true; the only ones I remember were all evil, or died.
One Solstice Night is, by contrast, a little delicate sugary confection. Isabella is a mediocre witch who has slipped up a few too many times, and has in fact been chased out of towns by a screaming mob (but this is dealt with fairly lightly). She comes to the small town of Benevolence hoping for a new start, and attracted by the fact that she only has to do one spell each year. And there she meets an outcast woman, shunned because of an ancestor’s doings, and befriends her.
Naturally, things come to a head and the spell doesn’t go right, the villagers aren’t pleased by the love fest between their witch and their outcast, but love prevails. I’m quite interested to see if the other books go into more of the background: what exactly the Wolf was, why Emily’s ancestor damaged the protective spell, etc. The lack of explanation of a motive behind that is what made this feel rather shallow on the second read.