Secret, Scone & Book Society, by Ellery Adams
"... books that, once opened, reveal our communal story. And, if you're lucky, the words in those books will force you to grapple with the hardest trusts of your life. After reducing you to a puddle of tears, they'll raise you to your feet again. The words will pull you up, higher and higher, until you feel the sun on your face again."
Scone & Book Society is a book for Readers. I know, you're thinking everyone who picks up a book is a reader. But there are readers, and there are Readers. Readers love books about books (they also love to talk about books, and recommend books to others, and understand that a work of fiction can reduce you to a puddle when it is exactly the right story you needed to read right at that time).
The mystery, the plot, to be honest isn't really what is showcased here. Instead, there are some majorly awesome things that are being highlighted: female friendships, the healing power of books ... and scones.
First, female friendships. The main characters come together over a mystery, but Adams main point is that in order to trust one another, to become a friend, we must be prepared to share our secrets. Otherwise, we are always on our guard and if we can't let down our guard, we can't let others in. Four outsiders find their tribe together and it's beautiful. They are stronger together. Also, their secrets deal with some serious shit. Adams is not afraid to go there. Each and every one of these women could have been broken by the challenges life throw at them, but instead they find a way to share and become stronger for it. There is a cute romance in the story and I do not mind that at all, but the real love here is women accepting themselves and each other as they are. I'm getting teared up just thinking of it.
Secondly, books are healing. You don't need to tell a Reader that, she already knows. Nora, the owner of the bookstore, will get a person to tell her a very vague account of their problems, and she will be able to build a pile of books that is designed to help them through. This is the true magic of librarians! Adams is basically name dropping books here, and you can get excited when you're like - I've read those! In books we find and recognize our own stories. In books we find the shared experience of humanity, and become more human for it. I love the idea of communal stories, that by sharing our experiences we are building something greater.
Finally, scones. I was drooling every time Hester made a new comfort scone for someone. There is a touch of magic here, as Hester is a bit of a kitchen witch. She gets a feel for a person, then is able to make a scone perfectly tailored to unleash memories from the past, or a part of themselves that's hiding. I want my own comfort scone! In a perfect world, it would be gluten free but still taste amazing. I wonder what mine would taste like: vanilla? Lavender? Would love to meet a kitchen witch to make me scones.
While I am not a kitchen witch, I do love baking, so I'm including the recipe to these scones I made. They are a family favourite, and extremely drool-worthy! My four-year old actually helped make the batch pictured, which was a very sweet moment for me.
Maple Glazed Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones, by An Italian in My Kitchen