Miracle Springs is a very special place where people come to seek healing, whether physical, spiritual, or emotional, but in The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams, four women need special healing. Each has a personal secret that has kept her closed off from the world even as she helps others in need. Nora Pennington, the focal character, owns Miracle Books and works as an unofficial bibliotherapist, helping others in need by offering them the ideal books to suit their needs and help them on their way to healing. Thus, it comes as no surprise when Neil Parrish, a young executive with the Pine Ridge developers creating a new subdivision, asks for her advice. He seems to have something to regret about his job, but he doesn’t go into details. Nora tells him to go to Hester Winthrop’s The Gingerbread House and order a Comfort Scone, in which Hester uses some kind of magic to recreate people’s fondest memories, and then see her in her shop. But Neil never shows up. Instead, Nora learns that he has been run over by the train on which his associates are arriving in town.
Nora and Hester are joined at the police station by Estella Sadler, owner of the Magnolia Salon and Spa, and Julia Dixon, an employee of the Miracle Springs Thermal Pools. All four ladies are loners, held in place by the paralysis of past pains in their lives. When the police declare the death a suicide, the women decide to work together to get to the truth. Together, they form the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, so named from the magic found in books and Hester’s scones, and the women work to learn to trust each other by sharing their deep secrets as they gradually open up to their new friends. When another man from the Pine Ridge developers gets murdered, someone frames Estella, and she gets arrested. Thus the three remaining friends determine to get to the bottom of the case and free their new friend, as they learn further how to open up to each other.
This book is a unique, powerful book about the value of working together to support each other. It’s a story of redemption through friendship and books. Nora’s use of books to help create healing amid a personal hurt comes across as highly credible, and I loved the breadth of the books suggested by Nora to her clients. Further, Nora gets into interesting discussions with clients about different books of different genres. Certain quotes from various books also play roles in the book, including helping them to survive. The women further get inspiration for their actions from books and mythology.
This book is ever so much more than a cozy mystery, Ellery Adams’s traditional form of writing. It contains much more than just mystery. Rather, the book has elements of fantasy, and has a unique twist on a coming-of-age drama. Those books focus on young adults coming into their own, while this book focuses on middle aged women who have allowed their inner pain to stymie their lives and stunt their personal growth. So they need to discover their real strengths. I really loved seeing the personal growth of each individual woman as she opens up to the other women and develops inner strength throughout the course of the book. In addition, Nora begins to learn to open up her heart as she meets a man, Jed, who accepts her for who she is despite her physical deformities from a fire.
The audio version is performed by Cris Dukehart, who helps to make the book seem realistic. I liked the quality of her voice, which seemed to give strength to the perspective of Nora. Besides giving strength to Nora, Dukehart adds real strength to the quality of the book and the personal journeys of the characters in the book. I am really impressed by her performance.
I have loved all of Ellery Adams’s books, but The Secret, Book, and Scone Society has a special depth and strength to it. I am deeply impressed by this book, which made me look inside my own life to see where I need personal healing and want to emulate the ladies in the book. So this book served as a personal form of catharsis, performing the actions of the books in this novel. I highly encourage all to read this book, regardless of your preference in genres, as it has bits of different genres in it and speaks to us all. I give the book an honorary six stars!
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