by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.
After inadvertently burning her life down in a moment of rage and fury, Nora Pennington found healing and her purpose in the town of Miracle Springs, North Carolina. Renowned for their healing springs, Nora does her own bibliotheraphy there for those needing help in her Miracle Books bookstore. Though her many customers find bliss through the messages they learn through the books Nora selects for them, there is a very loud contingency less than pleased by her new autumn window display. Rather than jumping on the commerce-driven early Halloween bandwagon, Nora and her employees are celebrating diverse women of power and showcasing books such as Practical Magic, Ella Enchanted, Coraline, The Mists of Avalon, Wicked, Matilda, and The House of Spirits. Since historically many outspoken, independent women were branded as witches, maybe it shouldn’t be too surprising that this collection of books has the Women of Lasting Values Society condemning the bookstore in an opinion article in the newspaper and protesting outside the store.
Nora’s Miracle Springs bookstore isn’t the only target of their judgement, as the newest stress and pain management CBD store Soothe has their angel statue vandalized and written threats left outside. While its owner Celeste Leopold seems to perfectly fit into Miracle Springs’ supportive healing community, her abrasive, angry twenty-something daughter rejects all offers of welcome. Nora and her friend June are alarmed to see Bren Leopold sick outside on the street, and after further spurning their attempts to help, they are shocked to later find the young woman dead. The news that Bren had THC and cannabis in her system jeopardizes Soothe’s legal standing, compounding the woman’s trauma and maternal devastation. Rallying the forces of their capable bookclub Secret, Book, and Scone Society, Nora and her fellow storeowners and friends begin investigating whether the attacks on their shops are connected to the death of the rebellious woman.
To paraphrase Ellery Adams from her foreword, those struggling to look for a place in the world can always find it in a book. That is what makes the attacks against Nora’s bookstore and her neighbors so offensive, as they threaten the place where outsiders often find a sense of home. Nora herself is also troubled by her boyfriend Jed’s absence, who, while away taking care of his mother, is himself irritable, vulnerable, and making demands Nora cannot meet. That means that now more than ever Nora will be relying on her Society members, who along with bakery treats and book selections have shared personal secrets that allow one another to share burdens and heal. The healing aspect of Miracle Springs is always central to the plots of this series, and this fourth celebrates the powerful strength of women as well.
A clue from what is possibly an old medieval manuscript brings in a woman from Nora’s past, the former college roommate who reminds Nora of the woman she used to be before the accident, burns, and scarring. What Nora has come to realize is that she likes who she has become, surrounded by loving friends and able to share the healing power of books with those who need it. This is the perfect book for bibliophiles and those looking for a mystery filled with wiccans, alternative therapies, and the incredible bond between the Secret, Book, and Scone Society.
To enter to win a copy of Ink and Shadows, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “shadows,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 27, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:
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