Title: The Whispered Word (Secret, Book & Scone Society #2)
Author: Ellery Adams
Published: November 2018
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Cozy Mystery
I received a copy of The Whispered Word from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
In New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams’ intriguing new Secret, Book, and Scone Society novel, Nora Pennington and her fiction loving friends in small-town Miracle Springs, North Carolina, encounter a young woman desperately in need of a new beginning . . .
Nora Pennington, owner of Miracle Books, believes that a well-chosen novel can bring healing and hope. But she and the other members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society know that sometimes, practical help is needed too. Such is the case with the reed-thin girl hiding in the fiction section of Nora’s store, wearing a hospital ID and a patchwork of faded bruises. She calls herself Abilene, and though Nora and her friends offer work, shelter, and a supportive ear, their guest isn’t ready to divulge her secrets. But when a customer is found dead in an assumed suicide, Nora uncovers a connection that points to Abilene as either a
suspect—or another target.
Summer’s end has brought other new arrivals to Miracle Springs too. Entrepreneur Griffin Kingsley opens Virtual Genie, a cyber business that unloads people’s unwanted goods for cash. With the town in an economic slump and folks hurting for money, Virtual Genie and its owner are both instantly popular. A patient listener, Griffin dispenses candy to children and strong coffee to adults, and seems like a bona fide gentleman. But Nora’s not inclined to judge a book by its cover. And when a second death hits town, Nora and her intrepid friends must help the new, greenhorn sheriff discern fact from fiction—and stop a killer intent on bringing another victim’s story to a close . . .
There’s a lot to like in Ellery Adams’ The Whispered Word – it’s a cozy mystery set in a bookshop with a diverse cast of characters all trying to find their place in the world.
Nora Pennington is a small-town bookshop owner who believes in the healing power of books (don’t we all!) and knows that sometimes people need to keep secrets in order to survive in the world. Such is the case when she takes in a young woman with a hospital bracelet, signs of abuse and some unlikely talents. Determined to help the mystery woman get back on her feet, Nora and her friends help the young woman find a place to stay and work.
All the while a death shocks the small town, one that Nora and her friends are first on the scene to discover, and the mystery becomes entwined with the young woman with secrets and a new-to-town auction business that causes a stir.
The Whispered Word, as a cozy mystery, didn’t grab my attention as much as some of the others I’ve read. It’s a much slower-paced book and the characters – while great, well-rounded characters – didn’t leap off the page for me. Everything unfolds at its pace, which is fine, but it was a book I could put down and had to remind myself to pick it up again later.
I did really enjoy the setting – a town that’s in economic strife due to a banking crisis (perhaps in the first book) and that really sets the tone for the characters. Everyone is struggling, and everyone is under the pump, which is why the new online auction business appears to be such a welcome asset to the town.
I also loved the premise of the healing power of books, and the way that Nora uses her bookstore, Miracle Books, to help others in their time of need. She’s clearly very knowledgable and dispenses book recommendations constantly throughout the book – which as a book lover I have to admit I enjoyed.
So, while The Whispered Word may not have been precisely my cup of tea, I can’t deny it was well-written and atmospheric and the mystery had a twist I didn’t see coming. If you enjoy mysteries with a healthy side of book love, it’s worth checking out.