What is this about?: Four women in the town of Miracle Springs find surprising friendship in each other, before they find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery, and needing each other to get through something else — something dangerous — entirely.
What else is this about?: Outsiders, for whatever reason, finding friendship and strength in each other. It’s about letting go of your past, and moving forward.
From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .
Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here 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 from the Gingerbread House bakery, 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 and lighten their heaviest burden.
When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.
Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.
Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. 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 . . .
You know how some books you may know what’s coming, but you still read it because it all just works, and it all just draws you into this simple story with a lot of heart? That’s what The Secret Book and Scone Society was like.
Nora, June, Hester and Estella find themselves unlikely friends, drawn together over the murder of Neil Parish, a visiting businessman that Nora met, and that Hester (who owns the Gingerbread House bakery) baked a comfort scone for. They are her speciality — a scone, baked on the spot for anyone who wants one, and always a different flavour because Hester takes the time to talk to people, to get to know them before doing a scone. And every time, she bakes something that gives the person a good memory.
Nora is a bibliotherapist and owner of Miracle Books, who provides comfort, except with books. She was in a horrible fire before coming to Miracle Springs, and bears the scars of it, but hasn’t told anyone the true story. She’s the MC who leads this narrative, and soon enough we begin to learn bits and pieces about her past that tell us she trusts no one, but here are these ladies pulling down her barriers and forcing her to be friends, until she realises she trusts them.
June works at a luxury spa in the town, forced here by her own legal troubles in her past. She is blunt, doesn’t take shit from anyone, and is the reality check the ladies sometimes need.
Estella owns a hair salon, and is the town’s Jezebel, by all accounts, a reputation she actively encourages.
As they become friends, they become embroiled in the death of Neil, who has been pushed in front of a train. Neil is part of a company building houses in a development in Miracle Springs, and when they each meet him, they can see he’s troubled about something. He appeals to them for they see themselves in him in some respects.
From there, the book evolves into a larger mystery, but it’s the ladies and their relationships and friendships that make this so charming.
It becomes clear quickly that these women are in need of friendships, that they’ve been alone for far too long for their own reasons. They become investigators, thieves, expert lock pickers, and sweet-talkers together, until Estella is framed for a murder and their investigation becomes even more serious.
The charm of this novel, in addition to the ladies, is the small town setting where everything is more intimate, and the consequences felt far more. And the cast of characters around the ladies add to the charm of the town, whether Adams makes you love or hate them.
I absolutely laughed out loud, and cheered the ladies on during this, and I love that cozies that make me do this. Also, I need to mention the wealth of books mentioned in this story — I loved it! And I expect you’ll probably find yourself taking down a good few recs.
In particular, watching these ladies gain a confidence, and realise just how good they are at being investigators, and standing up for themselves is a joy!