Wicked Whispers at St Brides
Gemma Lamb is ready for an uneventful term at St Bride’s, she’s had enough of dastardly deeds and sinister strangers.
However, she’s barely back at school before:
- Unlucky in love Oriana is sneaking around at odd hours
- Handsome Joe is keeping secrets
- Militant Mavis feels a scandal is brewing
It’s all a bit much, but when a stranger appears Gemma thinks she’s had enough. But this stranger isn’t so sinister, instead he looks rather too familiar. If Gemma can’t get him away from the school the whispers and scandal his presence could unleash may just close St Bride’s doors for good.
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3Surw7g
Debbie Young is the much-loved author of the Sophie Sayers and St Brides cosy crime mysteries.
She lives in a Cotswold village where she runs the local literary festival, and has worked at Westonbirt School, both of which provide inspiration for her writing.
She is bringing both her series to Boldwood in a 13-book contract. They will be publishing several new titles in each series and republishing the backlist, starting in September 2022.
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Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/debbie-young
Gemma has settled into life at the school but finds herself alone when the girls and staff all take advantage of the next exeat. Even Joe (with whom she hoped to spend more time) has plans that do not include her. And he seems rather over-friendly with Oriana too, which leaves Gemma wondering about their relationship.
So, when a stranger arrives at the empty school asking what could be very awkward questions for the headmistress (Hairnet), Gemma seizes the opportunity to steer the stranger away from the school and ends up enjoying a delicious afternoon tea at the infamous Doilies in town. She agrees to help him find out about his father rather than let him meet Hairnet and ask her about it (Gemma knows Hairnet’s secret and doesn’t want to put her in a difficult and embarrassing position of being exposed.)
Back in the staffroom, Gemma grows increasing concerned about Joe and Oriana, and also questions why sections of the local newspaper have been cut out. What is it that is being kept from them all? Does the stranger – Oliver – have anything to do with it? Do Joe and Oriana?
Gemma’s curiosity is distracted when one of the girls disappears and can’t be found on school grounds. Life at St Brides is getting more and more mysterious by the day.
This book is certainly packed with intrigue, but it’s also more focused on Gemma’s relationship with Joe. She spends a lot of time second-guessing events, all of which lead her to incessant introspection as she reflects on their relationship. This aspect of the story stunts the flow for me, and while there are mysteries to solve, Gemma is more of an accidental bit-player in their resolution. The story around Hairnet and her daughter seemed a little far-fetched and I couldn’t imagine a parent keeping that secret from their child, especially given the circumstances of living at St Brides. Not as fast-paced as book two, but still completely engaging and addictive.
I hope there is more to come from St Brides.
Thank you to the author, Boldwood Books and Netgalley for my ecopy which I have reviewed of my own volition.
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