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Review 🔍 The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James

January 22, 2021


Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell–with the help of a group of dedicated readers–decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Release Date:
 Jan 19, 2021
Series: Beloved Bookroom
Book: 1
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley
Price: $13.99

Every now and then, you come across a book that secures itself a home in your heart.  The Broken Spine, part of the A Beloved Bookroom Mystery and the first in its series by Dorothy St. James, is a delightful read, bursting with originality and wit.

Welcome to Cypress, where the town council has deemed to convert the town’s image into a town of the future.  Unfortunately, their vision of the future includes “converting” the only library in town into a modern, bookless library (gasp)! Not all is what it seems, though, and sometimes, drastic measures and small rebellions must take place in order to conserve a priceless treasure. But when the town’s manager is discovered dead and all signs point to murder, the main suspect is the very one that just committed the drastic measure and small rebellion (oh no). Get ready for this comical story, that will have you laughing out loud and cheering for the quiet ones.

Trudell “Tru” Becket, assistant librarian and lover of books, is the protagonist and hero of the quiet rebellion in this story.  I loved that this character had a reserved personality, making her impulsive actions funny and meaningful. The supportive cast were a riot and contributed to the craziness of the situation. I liked that some of those characters were left with undiscovered history that will set up nicely for the other books to follow (or at least I hope so). But wait, there’s more. Adding to the mix is a surprise love interest with a relatable back story; high school crush comes back home and perhaps there’s something building between them? I sure hope so, because those two had great chemistry.

I loved the effortless writing of this author. I so enjoyed reading this book, that I read it, in one sitting (this does not happen often for me).  This book is full of witty, funny scenes and dialogue with an amazing story flow and purposeful twists and turns. You know the author is taking you around the block, but it doesn’t matter because you’ll just want to keep reading. 

An old-fashioned mystery, where the murder must be solved with good detective work and the help of a cat, of course!  All around, a charming and fantastic first book in-series.  I already can’t wait for more.

~ Patricia 

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