In this intriguing new series from New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams, a quirky club in small-town North Carolina holds the keys to health, happiness, friendship—and even solving a murder—all to be found within the pages of the right book . . .
Strangers flock to Miracle Springs hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain. So when a visiting businessman reaches out for guidance, Nora knows exactly how to help. But before he can keep their appointment, he’s found dead on the train tracks . . .
Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to earn redemption by helping others. To join, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place. Now, determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cozy bookstore. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .
“Anyone who loves novels that revolve around books will savor this tasty treat.”
—Library Journal, Starred Review
About the Author
Ellery Adams has written over thirty mystery novels and can’t imagine spending a day away from the keyboard. Ms. Adams, a native New Yorker, has had a lifelong love affair with stories, food, rescue animals, and large bodies of water. When not working on her next novel, she bakes, gardens, spoils her three cats, and spends far too much time on Pinterest. She lives with her husband and two children (aka the Trolls) in Chapel Hill, NC. For more information, please visit www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.
Read an Excerpt
A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozeninside our soul.
— Franz Kafka
The man on the park bench stared at the empty space above the knuckle of Nora Pennington's pinkie finger.
Strangers were always hypnotized by this gap. They would gaze at the puckered skin stretched over the nub of finger bone for several awkward seconds before averting their eyes in disgust, pity, or both.
Like most strangers, the man's attention could only remain on Nora's pinkie for so long. She had other fascinating scars. He couldn't fixate on just one.
His chin jerked slightly, as though he knew he was being impolite and should look away, but was powerless to do so. His eyes slowly traveled over the bubble of shell-smooth skin on the back of her hand. It was pinker and shinier than the surrounding skin, and Nora sensed that the man had an irrational desire to touch it.
Years ago, when Nora was in the hospital, a night nurse with silver hair that flashed like fish scales when caught by the light told Nora that the burn on her hand was shaped like Iceland.
"That's where I'm from," the nurse had added proudly. Her voice was part grandmother's lullaby, part chamomile tea, and part chenille blanket. It was the only thing that penetrated Nora's veil of pain. "You even have the two peninsulas on Iceland's western shore. See? They're like a pair of crab pincers."
Nora hadn't opened her eyes to look. She didn't want to acknowledge the nurse's presence. She didn't want comfort. She'd wanted to be left alone to sink deeper in her ocean of agony and remorse.
The man on the bench shifted, bringing Nora back to the present.
He was studying her right arm. This was her darkest, angriest scar: a Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish swimming through her skin from wrist to shoulder. And while part of its red and purple bell disappeared into the sleeve of her white blouse, there was an impression of other sea creatures reemerging above the collar. A parade of pale, glistening octopi drifted across Nora's neck and cheek, forever trapped in the ripples and wavelets the flames had carved into her skin.
The man's eyes strayed to Nora's other hand. The unblemished one.
This was unusual. Most people finished their inspection of Nora's face with a forlorn expression. She knew exactly what they were thinking when they wore that look.
What a shame. She'd be so pretty without those scars.
But this man hadn't responded with the "too bad, so sad" expression. He was clearly more interested in the scone she held than in continuing to study her burn scars.
Nora felt herself relaxing the stiff posture she held when newcomers inspected her.
"Excuse me." The man pointed at her decimated pastry. "Where did you get that?"
Nora, who'd been feeding the scone to a small flock of mourning doves, replied, "From the Gingerbread House. They're called comfort scones. The baker, Hester, makes custom scones based on what she thinks her patrons will be comforted by. You should pay her a visit."
"I love scones, but I haven't had one in forever. I used to have a chocolate-chip scone every Thursday afternoon at this little coffee shop near my office. But that was before everything changed. I couldn't look the barista in the eye after —" The man fell into an abrupt silence. He sat very still and watched the doves devour Nora's crumbs. When every last piece was gone, he asked, "Why are you feeding yours to the birds?"
"A customer dropped it on the floor while I was in the bakery buying a cinnamon twist," Nora said. "I prefer cinnamon twists over scones because they're easier to eat while I'm reading. That's my main priority when it comes to food. Other people are obsessed with calories, nutritional value, antioxidants. I look at food and wonder: Can I eat that without having to put my book down?"
This elicited a small smile from the man. He pointed at the yellow building with the cobalt blue trim and doors on the far side of the park. The former train depot, which had been converted into a bookshop, possessed an air of charming dilapidation.
"So I take it you hang out there pretty often," he said.
"I do." Dusting crumbs from her hands, Nora added, "Miracle Books is my store."
Hearing this, the man pivoted to face her.
The sudden movement startled the doves and they took off in a burst of alarmed coos and whooshing wings.
"An African-American woman working at the thermal pools told me about the resident bibliotherapist. Was she talking about you?"
Nora saw the need in the man's eyes. She'd seen it hundreds of times. But only from those who dared to look directly at her. "This woman said that the bibliotherapist was able to help people solve their problems by recommending certain titles." The man gestured at Miracle Books. "It makes sense that you'd own a bookstore."
"I have no official training," Nora said, uttering her standard disclaimer. "Before I came to Miracle Springs, I was a librarian. I haven't taken a single course in psychology. I've never done any formal counseling."
The man frowned in confusion. "This woman said that people seek you out when the rest of the services in town failed to make them feel better. But I don't get it. How can you succeed where all of the professionals — and the healing waters — can't?"
Nora shrugged. "There's no guarantee my method will work, either. I read all the time. And I listen to people. I really listen." She held the man's dubious gaze. "Stories don't change much across continents and centuries. Hearts are broken. Pride is wounded. Souls wander too far from home and become lost. The wrong roads are taken. The incorrect choice is made. Stories echo with loneliness. Grief. Longing. Redemption. Forgiveness. Hope. And love." Now it was her turn to point at the bookstore. "That building is stuffed with books that, once opened, reveal our communal story. And, if you're lucky, the words in those books will force you to grapple with the hardest truths of your life. After reducing you to a puddle of tears, they'll raise you to your feet again. The words will pull you up, higher and higher, until you feel the sun on your face again. Until you're suddenly humming on the way to the mailbox. Or you're buying bouquets of gerbera daisies because you crave bright colors. And you'll laugh again — as freely as champagne bubbling in a tall, glass flute. When's the last time you laughed like that?"
The man's mouth twisted. He was trying to hold his emotion in check — to keep his pain from overtaking him. His hands gripped his knees so hard that his knuckles had gone white. He looked away from Nora, and she thought he might get up and leave. Instead, he asked, "How does it work? This bibliotherapy."
"Go to the Gingerbread House and buy a comfort scone," Nora said. "Tell Hester you're coming to see me and she'll put your scone in a takeout box. I have coffee, but the fanciest thing I make with my espresso machine is a latte, so if you're used to soy no-foam mochaccinos, you're going to be disappointed."
"I confess to making decisions that have complicated my life and compromised my principles," the man said. "But I've never taken my coffee any way but black."
"Then we're off to a good start." Nora got to her feet. "While you're eating, you can tell me what brought you to Miracle Springs." She held up her hands. "This won't be like a traditional counseling session where we sit down and you talk for a long period of time. You won't need to go into detail with me. I only need a broad brushstroke — a brief glimpse into the heart of your pain. That way, I can select the right books. After that, you can start reading your way to a fresh start this evening."
The man grunted, infusing his exhalation with a feeling of dismissal. "I'm not much of a reader."
"Ah." Nora moved away a few steps and then stopped and spun on her heel. "You came to Miracle Springs to make changes, didn't you? Becoming a reader is a change for the better. Trust me. No one has ever lost by becoming addicted to stories — to the lessons learned by those who possess enough courage to put pen to paper."
"You've got a point." Another dismissive grunt. "What's the worst that could happen from my opening the cover of a book?"
For the first time since they'd begun speaking, Nora smiled. And because she was showing the man the unblemished side of her face, she saw that he was utterly transfixed.
"You have no idea," Nora said. Her smile wavered before completely vanishing. "Stories are just like people. If you don't approach them with an open mind and a healthy dose of respect, they won't reveal their hidden selves to you. In that event, you'll miss out on what they have to offer. You'll walk through life an empty husk instead of a vibrant kaleidoscope of passion, wisdom, and experience."
The man studied her for a long moment. "I don't want to be empty anymore. I came to Miracle Springs days ahead of my partners to figure out how to fix things before it happens all over again. Nothing's worked. My partners arrive on the three o'clock train, so I have nothing to lose by giving your method a shot." He grinned. "At the very least, I'll have a scone for my efforts. Where is this celebrated Gingerbread House?"
Nora gave him directions and then continued on to Miracle Books. She had things to take care of before the man returned for his session. The trolley from the lodge would be arriving soon, and trolley-loads of rich and restless souls paid Nora's bills.
Nora Pennington loved selling books. She loved talking to people about books. But what she wanted most was to heal people using books.
Four years ago, when Nora had been a patient in a hospital burn unit, she'd prayed for death. Not only were her prayers unanswered, but she was also given first-rate medical care and the perfect prescription of stories, courtesy of an Icelandic nurse with silver hair.
First, the nurse brought Nora books about physically deformed men who were capable of great genius, devout love, acts of madness, or all of the above. And while Nora refused to watch television or receive visitors, she grudgingly reread Frankenstein.
Next, she was given The Phantom of the Opera, followed by the Christine Sparks version of The Elephant Man.
"Are you trying to depress me? Because I don't think I need any help in that department," Nora had grumbled to the nurse. She'd been angry. She was always angry. And when she wasn't angry, she was depressed. She felt no other emotions.
In response, the nurse had laid a copy of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame on her bed.
"Guess I'm ready for Dracula or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Nora had told her caregiver after she'd finished the Victor Hugo classic.
"You're heading in another direction," the nurse had cheerfully informed her, placing John Green's Looking for Alaska, Karen Kingsbury's Waiting for Morning, and Kristin Hannah's Night Road on Nora's nightstand.
Because of the narcotics, Nora hadn't immediately realized that the theme of this current set of novels was drunk driving, so she read on. As she'd turned the pages, her emotional pain became as intense as her physical pain.
"Why are you doing this?" she'd whispered to the nurse one night. "You heard about my accident. I thought you were kind."
"You have to sink to the very bottom, my child," the woman had whispered in her lullaby voice. "After that, you can push off with both feet and start swimming toward the surface. You're strong. You can get there. But it's going to hurt. You have to clean out the wound before it can heal. Let the stories be your antiseptic. Bear the pain now for a chance at a better tomorrow. Otherwise, you'll repeat the mistakes that landed you in this bed."
Nora had read every title. When she was done, the nurse had brought her a book called The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. "It's about a boy who set himself on fire when he was fourteen," she told Nora. "I know you didn't burn yourself on purpose, but I thought you'd like to read about his recovery process. He might even make you laugh."
I doubt it, Nora had thought. She'd done a terrible, terrible thing. There would be no laughter in her life. Never again.
But she'd read the book. And the next one. And the next.
The night before she was to be discharged from the hospital, Nora had asked for more books.
"You're a librarian," the nurse had replied with a smile. "You know where to find them."
Nora had dropped her eyes. "I'm not going back. I need to start over — in another place."
The nurse had sat on the edge of Nora's bed and taken her good hand in hers. "What would this place look like? The place where you'd begin a new life?"
"It would have lots and lots of books," Nora had said. "I can't live without them." Gazing at the lights and omnipresent haze of the urban sprawl outside her window, she went on: "It would be in the country. Somewhere remote and lovely. A place where people still grow vegetable gardens and build purple-martin houses. Where they have quirky holiday parades and bake sales. A place where people look for the pets on posters stapled to telephone polls. A little town. Not so little that everyone will pry into my business, but small enough that the locals will eventually get used to my appearance. Eventually, they'll stop whispering."
"And what will you do for money in this paradise?" the nurse had asked.
At this question, Nora had gone clammy with fear. She'd been so caught up in her fantasy that she hadn't considered the practicalities. During her lengthy convalescence, she'd ignored visitors, phone calls, and letters. But as of tomorrow, she couldn't hide from the outside world anymore.
Her burn scars had begun to throb, which was good, because the pain kept her grounded. She wanted to feel pain. She deserved it, so she embraced it.
"I'll open a bookstore," she'd said calmly. "I have some savings, and if I find a town that needs a bookstore —"
"Doesn't every town?" the nurse had interjected, her glacier-blue eyes twinkling with humor.
Nora had smiled. Smiling hurt the burn wound on her right cheek, but she owed this woman a smile, at the very least. "If it wants a soul, then yes. Every town needs a bookstore."
* * *
Nora pushed open the door to Miracle Books to the jingle-jangle of sleigh bells. They weren't a light, melodious tinkle, but a loud clanging that erupted from a leather horse harness covered in baseball-sized brass bells. Nora had bought the harness at the flea market and hung it from a nail on the back of the door. This way, she knew when a customer entered the shop, even if she was at the other end of the labyrinth of bookshelves she'd created to funnel people from the front toward the ticket-agent's office.
Everything in the store — from the fainting couch to the leather sofa, and the assortment of upholstered chairs in various stages of degeneration — came from yard sales and flea markets. Occasionally, Nora made purchases from the local auction company, but these treasures were reserved for her home: a four-room, tiny house that had once been a functioning railroad car. The locals referred to her diminutive abode as Caboose Cottage because her refurbished train car was a cheerful apple-red.
After flipping the SHUT sign over to read OPEN, Nora continued walking deeper into the shop. She needed to brew coffee. The trolley would be pulling into the public parking area any moment now.
Nora entered the small office where train tickets were once sold to Miracle Springs travelers. In order to convert the office into a basic coffee dispensary, Nora had removed the ticket window's glass divide and hung a chalkboard next to the opening. The chalkboard listed the literary names of the beverages Miracle Books offered:
The Ernest Hemingway — Dark Roast The Louisa May Alcott — Light Roast The Dante Alighieri — Decaf The Wilkie Collins — Cappuccino The Jack London — Latte The Agatha ChrisTEA — Earl Grey
From time to time, customers would suggest a new and complicated espresso recipe along with a suitable author name to match.
Nora, who'd learned to treat people's feelings with care since her life had taken such a dramatic turn on a dark highway four years ago, would smile and praise the person for their creativity. She would then confess that her secondhand espresso maker could barely handle steaming milk, but if she ever had the chance to upgrade, she'd keep their drink idea in mind.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Secret, Book & Scone Society"
Copyright © 2017 Ellery Adams.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Normally, I don't spend my hard-earned dollars on a book (even if I am familiar with the author) for which a publisher can't be bothered to write a synopsis. On a whim, I bought this book in spite of the lack of synopsis. I really enjoyed it. It is a mystery that is a bit tricky to categorize. It is a little too intense to be a cozy mystery, but it is not a typical thriller-style mystery either. Rather, it is a blend of both types. As I read it, 2 very different styles of series, both favorites of mine, came to mind: the "League of Literary Ladies" series by Kylie Logan, and the "Chief Inspector Gamache" series by Louise Penny. This book doesn't copy either series, but it is evocative of both. The mystery is smart and well-paced. The characters are complex, sympathetic, and interesting. It is set in the small town of Miracle Springs in western North Carolina. The story centers around 4 very different women: Nora the bookstore owner, Estella the beauty salon owner, Hester the bakery owner, and June the R.N. and health spa assistant. In the 1st few pages of the story, a man is murdered. For a variety of reasons, the women believe his death to be a homicide not a suicide. In order to prove it, each woman must overcome her own personal demons in order for them to work together to solve the case. They form "The Secret, Book, and Scone Society". As the story progresses, they solve the mystery, and each woman learns a great deal about herself as well as about the other 3 women. I will definitely read a sequel. On a separate but related note, I mentioned earlier that it angers me when a publisher doesn't provide a synopsis for a book. The lack of information is frustrating. I also find the opposite annoying. Reviews are helpful, but simply regurgitating a synopsis word-for-word does not constitute a review! To add insult to injury, some reviewers also toss in spoilers. Stop it! I hope other readers find this review helpful. I did try to explain the book without giving away any of the action and intrigue.
Hope this is just the start of many more journeys with this group of incredible women. The author has done a beautiful job of creating characters that the reader wants to have for friends. Everyone who reads this will want a chair in the book store
Engaging, interesting women who share their life stories and gain strength and lasting friendships
"The Secret, Book, and Scone Society" by Ellery Adams is an absolutely wonderful start to a new cozy mystery series! The story is centered upon Nora, a woman with scars both physical and emotional. Nora runs a bookshop and often helps customers heal from emotional trauma by suggesting just the right mix of books. One such potential reader is found dead before he can enjoy his books, and Nora sets out to determine what really happened. The mystery is well-plotted, with enough clues and information provided to the reader to keep things interesting, but never enough to make the answer obvious. Nora thinks things through and takes logical steps to solve the mystery, instead of bumbling around and occasionally coming across a clue (like so many cozy heroines are prone to do). Of course, this doesn't mean that she never does anything dangerous or stupid! Nora's flaws are actually what make the reader love her; perfect heroines get annoying quickly. The book also shines in the area of characters and their relationships with one another. Despite running a successful business, Nora has kept herself fairly closed off from others. As the mystery unfolds, she finds herself drawing together a group of like-minded women with problems of their own. As the story progresses, each woman begins to share her secrets and find personal healing. I love the way that these personal journeys are woven into the mystery plotline, and look forward to watching the friendships deepen as the group goes on to solve future crimes (which will undoubtedly occur in their cozy town). Honestly, I can't say enough good things about "The Secret, Book, and Scone Society". It has everything a typical cozy should (including a crew of very oddly-behaving cats), but brings so much more to the table. Nora's character in particular has the potential for extensive growth and development in future installments of this series. The other regular characters (plus one mysterious newcomer) also have plenty of room to grow and provide the bases for more stories. Overall, five chunks of the tastiest, sharpest cheddar available!
Not only do you get involved with the mystery, you get involved with the characters. The friendship formulated by these four women makes you want to continue getting to know them.
I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I was very excited to read this book as soon as I opened the package. From the first few pages it didn't disappoint. There are so many levels of mystery and intrigue going on but Ellery does such a fabulous job that you don't get lost in any of them. The names of the characters fit their personalities so well that I could picture them right from the start. Her descriptions are fabulous and I wish I could visit Miracle Springs for real. The mystery and murders in the book are done very well to give you the idea of what's going on without too much and it keeps you guessing until the reveal. The whole book was written amazingly and I wait impatiently for the next one! Until then, I think I'll bake some scones.
The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams People flock to Miracle Springs, North Carolina seeking its healing powers. Often these people find their way to Miracle Books to ask Nora Pennington to recommend books to help with their problems. Nora often suggested they visited Gingerbread House to purchase a Comfort Scone to eat while they read the books she suggests. This is what happens when Nora meets visiting businessman, who wanted to discuss this need to correct his wrong doings. Before the gentleman could return to the bookstore something horrible happens. Feeling a strong desire to find out the truth about what really happened to the gentleman Nora and 3 other Miracle Springs residents start their own investigation. During their investigation, they not only find clues to what happened but they find friendship in one another, a friendship strong enough to help each one heal from their own emotional injuries. Author Ellery Adams has created a place I’d love to visit. Being an avid cozy reader, this book was just right up my alley. I would love to visit Miracle Books, to pursue the shelves of books and vintage gifts. I could see myself sitting in one of the reading nooks to looking through the treasures I found. Along with the lovely setting, the book is well-written with flawed but strong female characters. There are enough red-herrings to keep you guessing who was behind to murders and all the other mysterious things going on in Miracle Springs. This book shows the importance of having someone in your life to confide in, someone who will listen without judgment. I recommend this book to mystery lovers and look forward to the next book in the series.
I can't believe this book got an average rating of 4.7. I was sooooo looking forward to reading this.The book synopsis makes the book sound much better than I found it to be. It's a rather ordinary "soap-opera" like story with murder, mystery and romance among 4 women who make up this "society." Not a particularly compelling story, and the writing was unremarkable. Simply said, FORGET ABOUT IT!
Wow I was not expecting some things from this book. This isn't your typical cozy mystery. I mean it kind of is but there's more to it I guess. Where to even start? First off, the setting and characters is what drew me to this series. Also because I like the author's writing style and how she writes her characters. Especially how you get to know each of the characters as they try to solve a murder. The mystery in this was even interesting. I mean most of these cozy mysteries are but this one I was liking more. The book references were good. Nora kind of reminded me of Perdu from Little Paris Bookshop what with the books and healing part. I like the author's other series, Books by the Way mystery series, I think I'm going to like this. This was a pretty good start and hope to read more books from this series.
This book is the first in a new mystery series and it is different from the author's other series. I enjoyed the setting, the town of Miracle is a place where people travel to help heal from physical or mental scars. The four main characters all have hidden secrets and trust issues but become friends to try and solve the mystery. Since this is the first in the series much of the book deals with the background of the characters and the mystery is rather weak. The mystery was easy to solve but there were a few twists. It was not a who did but more of a why and how they did it. The background of the characters was interesting. I found the book to be darker than the usual cozies I read. It was a very quick read and since it ended with a cliff hanger I look for word to reading the next one. This is a series that should be read in order.
What an amazing book! Grabbed my attention from the start. As each woman was added to the story it was like gaining a new friend. These ladies are so relatable... everyone can relate to some piece of each of their stories. There are surprises when you least expect them... moments where you feel like you know exactly what's coming... and times you can't wait to find out what's happening next. I love watching the friendships develop between these women. It's beautiful seeing women who accept their friends as they are and support them through it all. I can't wait for the next book.
I found the title catchy and the cover very attractive. I would have bought it just for the cover. Chapter one was very different and captured my interest right away. I love her tiny home and want to visit her bookstore. Coffee, books, and scones... can't get much better. At first I thought it was going to be depressing, but by chapter two my outlook changed dramatically. The women have touched a place that is dangerous and hopeful in each of their lives. I love the friendship of these women and the trust, but it can be a dangerous place or a healing place. The book has a good flow. Love, love, love the chapter quotes! Caught myself holding my breath during several events. Absolutely love the forming friendships and the growth process. Trust comes with a price, and in this book it was friendship. I'm thrilled the women don't give into temptation so easy... You Go Girls! You know there is mean and bad, then there is just evil. Can't wait for the next one!
Loved this book! I've been a fan of Ellery Adams since I was given one of her Books by the Bay mysteries by my mom. This book was great, filled my void of new series that I'd been wanting, and I can't wait to read the new one! The characters were interesting, and the plot kept me wanting to read more. Loved it!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is my first book I have read from Ellery Adams. I wish I could visit this town and visit the bookstore . There were delightful twists and jumps. I hope everyone gets a chance to sit back and relax and enjoy a good mystery. I am looking forward to the next one in the series.
The story was very good and had a great plot and kept you wanting more . Looking forward to the next book to see what kind of adventures await the great cast of characters
In this first book of a new series, Ellery Adams has done it again: I want, no, I need to go to Miracle Springs, North Carolina and I want to befriend all of the main characters, especially Nora Pennington. No one is perfect and everyone has secrets. In this book, Nora and her new friends help each other to unburden themselves of their secrets, become closer, and help investigate a murder. Anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries, especially ones with books, strong female characters, and a unique small town, should read this. Clear your schedule, though. I read this in just two sittings as I could not put the book down. I can't wait until the next book to return to Miracle Springs. Now if I could just schedule a bibliotherapy appointment with Nora...
As I read this book, I found myself thinking of Jessica Fletcher of "Murder she Wrote" and the 4 women of the "Golden Girls" series. The plot centers around a small town group of women who all harbor secrets but who are steadfast friends. Nora owns a bookstore and has a penchant for choosing just the right book for customers, Ella is a hairstylist, Hester is a baker whose scones are a comfort to those who eat them and June is a manager of the local spa which boasts of healing waters. Their bond becomes even tighter when a mysterious death occurs in their community and one of them is accused of the crime. They become amateur sleuths and are determined to solve the crime. A romantic element in thrown into the mix when Nora falls victim to an attack and her rescuer becomes intrigued with the mysterious bookstore owner. As they work together to solve the crime, their secrets come to light and a bit of healing occurs for each one. I don't want to give away any of the plot, but I did enjoy the book and the mystery was well written. Some surprises and plot twists were included and overall, I thought the book was a good one. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a cozy mystery and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Secret, Book & Scone Society is the first book in the Secret, Book & Scone Society series by Ellery Adams. Four women all have secrets that kept them from trusting others and forming friendships, until a visitor to Miracle Springs dies and it is quickly ruled a suicide. They couldn’t accept that and began working together to get to the truth. I found the women relatable and likable. I liked the mystery, but I my favorite part was seeing the women struggle with trust and then opening up and sharing their stories. I can’t wait to read the next book to see how the relationships progress.
] The Secret, Book, & Scone Society is the first in a new mystery series by author Ellery Adams. Set in a small town in North Carolina , The Secret, Book, & Scone Society is more than just a riveting mystery novel. It is also a novel, about friendship, and trust. I started reading it this morning and finished it a few minutes ago. I just couldn't put it down ! Nora, Hester, June, and Estella are wonderful characters who come together to find out who killed a businessman visiting their town. Each one of them has a secret, and while working together to solve the mystery and free Estella from jail, they slowly learn to trust each other enough to share those secrets with each other, forming friendships that wil last forever. Sometimes secrets aren't meant to be kept, and by sharing their secrets not only do they learn about each other, but also the truth about themselves. If you're in the mood for a good mystery, love books, and scones, then The Secret, Book, & Scone Society is the book for you.
Great book in a new series from a great author. I was chosen to read and review this book, but would have anyway. Ellery Adams is one of my favorite authors. Women that were loners because of trauma in their lives find each other and form the society to give each other encouragement and friendship. They also happen to solve a couple of mysteries. The characters are wonderful and the setting makes me want to go visit. I am really looking forward to the next in the series.
The Secret, Book, & Scone Society is the first in a new cozy mystery series from Ellery Adams. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to more in this series. Her previous Books by the Bay and Storyton Hall mystery series are great. However, just as these two series are very different from each other, this new series is completely unlike either of its predecessors. Ms. Adams still brings the strong and inviting prose with a definite penchant for literary reference that her fans enjoy, but she creates a completely different setting and timbre in The Secret, Book, and Scone Society. The story is set in Miracle Springs where people come in search of healing for their weary or broken spirits. The protagonists are no exception; each has her own secret and tragic past that drove her to Miracle Springs in the first place. Each of the 4 women is unique and worthy of a reader's attention and compassion. Each helps heal visitors in their own way--Estella sees the beauty in all women and uses her salon to bring it out, Hester bakes comforting treats for each person, June works at the therapy pools at the springs, and Nora uses bibliotherapy. I have had times in my own life where books are all that got me going again and believe that bibliotherapy would be an awesome thing to study. As with any first book in a series, the first part of the book incorporates a lot of world and character building that makes for the rich environment that will house the entire series. The latter part is a fast-paced and exciting ride through the twists and turns of a series of murders related to a new housing development in town. I am glad that Ms. Adams is able to bring such unique stories to life and does not have to rely on writing carbon copies of what she has done before. I am anxiously awaiting the second book in this series.
Wow. I just finished this book, and can honestly say it was not what I expected, it was better. Four women in the tiny town of Miracle Springs, in the mountains of western North Carolina, meet after the death of a stranger. These women are all damaged, some physically, some emotionally, but each and every one has emerged stronger from their past. They decide to share their secrets with each other, and to work together to solve the murder of this stranger, thus forming The Secret, Book and Scone Society. They are more than friends, they are partners, and they are there for each other. The mystery is very well told, but it's the story of their friendship that kept me enthralled. I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Ellery Adams, and I'm so very glad I read it. I absolutely recommend it. A+++
When the story first started, I really didn't feel an immediate draw to it. It wasn't long after that I became completely hooked. I love the idea that these women with tortured pasts come together knowing they are all broken and find comfort in it. For a "cozy", I found the crime and mystery to be very realistic, like it could be ripped from the headlines. It was also a little darker than a lot of other cozy novels that I've read. This is my first novel that I have read from Ms. Adams. I am so impressed in her character depth and back stories. The past lives of these women are quite controversial and in other circumstances, they may be easily and harshly judged. The way Ms. Adams tells the story, you truly feel the compassion for them and want to offer the forgiveness they need to move on with their lives. I can not wait to read the next book in the Miracle Springs series. I want to see these ladies progress in their lives and in their budding relationships. I also have a suspicion of who "she" is.
The Secret, Book and Scone Society is a riveting mystery of not just who was responsible for several murders in Miracle Springs NC but also the mystery of the members of the society and what made them who they are now. Nora, a bibliotherapist, is not just scarred physically but also emotionally. Hester, a phenomenal baker, has hidden secrets along with June, the spa attendant at the springs, and Estella the local hair stylist. These 4 ladies join together to find justice for a stranger who had come to their town to right a wrong. This is an absolutely tremendous mystery weaving the character's personal stories in among the clues to the murders of two partners in a land development company. The mystery was crisp and tense while the characters could visibly be seen to grow and emerge from their frightened withdrawn starts like butterflies from a cocoon strong and determined to find justice for the victims as well as themselves...
Good mystery. Good charaterization