Mysteries of Thorn Manor

S. & S./McElderry. Jan. 2023. 192p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781665935616.
Gr 7 Up–A sweetly romantic cozy mystery featuring beloved characters. Picking up two months after the conclusion of A Sorcery of Thorns, this title finds Elisabeth comfortably ensconced in Thorn Manor, alongside her love interest, the wizard Nathaniel. Following the dramatic and traumatizing finale of the previous book, both are happy for a chance to de-stress and relax. However, Nathaniel is tasked with hosting a ball and, more concerningly, the magical house is not letting anyone in or out. Nathaniel’s demon Silas, mostly defanged (literally) following the conclusion of the previous book, offers information about the house’s history which may help solve the mystery of being trapped inside. However, Elisabeth suspects the timing of her and Nathaniel’s first real make-out with the change in the house may be more to blame. The low-stakes, easygoing vibe is immediately refreshing, offering a chance to see how these characters live outside of the life-and-death stakes of their previous adventure. The manor house has a personality of its own, and Elisabeth’s discovery of the secrets of past inhabitants helps fill out the backstory from the previous volume. Rogerson is clearly having fun imagining this cozy tale, imbuing the sweetly romantic scenes as well as the magic sequences with energy and zest. As in the first entry, the human characters are all assumed white. Those without familiarity with the characters and setting may find some elements confusing.
VERDICT A charming, cozy treat for fans of A Sorcery of Thorns and perfect to curl up and read on a winter’s night.

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