Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.
Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.
The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation—before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all . . .
Source: NetGalley and Kensington Rating: 4½/5 stars
The Bottom Line: I could go on and on about the plot and the characters and all the traditional stuff one finds in a book review, but that isn’t what stuck with and truly resonated with me in this read. The thing that struck the loudest chord for me is Nora’s absolute belief and insistence on protecting her books and the rights of individuals to read what they want. There have been too many times in history when books have been banned, labelled immoral, or just burned for their content and that chaps my ass much as it does Nora’s. I was particularly struck by Nora’s continued commitment to helping her customers find the books that will allow them to heal or just providing a safe haven for a young girl whose family doesn’t approve of her reading choices. Nora in no way does these things to turn a profit but to encourage reading and provide a safe and respectful place for readers of all ages, denomination, creeds, ethnicity, etc. Nora is simply a book lover with a passion for getting her wares into the hands of those who both want and need them. I admire and greatly respect this commitment, even in the face of adversity. From beginning to end, I am going to recommend this series to all lovers of books, but particularly those who have often felt shy about the books they love to read or shamed by others for their reading choices. Writing and reading are an art form and all who participate on any level are rewarded for their efforts.