Autumn Thorns is the perfect book for fall. As I was reading about Kerris Fellwater experiencing the cool and sometimes stormy fall weather of the Northwest, cool Autumn temperatures were arriving in my part of the country. The first chapter really made me want to make a cup of hot chocolate and settle on the couch with my book.
And once the author set the atmosphere, I was hooked on the story. Kerris Fellwater is a 50th generation spirit shaman. It is her job to make sure the spirits of the recently, and the not-so-recently, departed end up in their place on the other side of the Veil. She tried to avoid her duty for several years, but after her grandmother's death, the Crow Man has summoned her home to Whisper Hollow. Every resident of Whisper Hollow knows that if the Crow Man calls, it is best not to ignore him.
In Whisper Hollow, the spirits have been walking more than they typically do. Even while her grandmother was still alive, ghost activity was unusually high. The ghosts are usually kept in check by the spirit shaman and her guardian as well as the lament singer and the Veil's Gatekeeper, Penelope. Now, though, it seems the newest spirit shaman will have her work cut out for.
When Kerris returns to Whisper Hollow, she and her three cats move into her grandmother's house. Kerris starts digging through desks, trunks and other hiding places for any information she can find to help her with her spirit shaman duties. What she finds in the trunk that belonged to her mother, who disappeared when Kerris was young, has her digging into a decades old mystery. The investigation, along with her official spirit shaman duties, make sure there is never a lull in the action for Kerris.
Luckily, Kerris does not have to solve the mystery or perform her duties alone. Ellia is her lament singer, and Bryan is her guardian and neighbor. Bryan also turns out to be her mate. The road from neighbor to mate/lover was very short. Too short, as it did not even seem to be a love at first sight romance. More like suspicion turned to lust turned to love in an awkwardly short span of time. Still, as a couple, Kerris and Bryan will be a major force in the battle between dark and light in Whisper Hollow.
Another force to be reckoned with is the secret Crescent Moon Society. CMS could be helpful if they can get past the politics. The CMS is dedicated to protecting the town from the evil creatures that like to hang around. They even have a fixer to handle things the local law enforcement really can't touch.
A large part of this first book of a new series is about setting the scene in Whisper Hollow. Ms. Galenorn paints the town with charming names of places, roads and businesses. I love the name of Whisper Hollow and my favorite road is Fogwhistle Way. She also does a fine job of explaining the culture of the small town resting on the crossroads of ley lines. She does so using the many character's action and dialog, which makes it easy to take in. Unfortunately, the need to familiarize the reader with all of the background and all of the characters doesn't leave much time for the story. When the story was over, I felt like there should have been more, even though there was a satisfying resolution to the main plot line. There is much more to be resolved though. It appears a series is needed to make sure all is right in Whisper Hollow. Having done such a great job of setting the scene in book 1, Ms. Galenorn has a series with all sorts of potential!
This book releases on October 27th. The timing is perfect. Yes, it really feels like the titular season of Autumn, but the creatures of the night that Kerris deals with in the book will get you in the spirit of Halloween and things that go bump in the night. Ghosts, stormy nights and other creatures abound. I am just going to say a name and then let you read an awesome description of him. Diago. So, in addition to that cup of hot chocolate you have by your side when you are reading Autumn Thorns, I suggest you also leave all the lights on!
**ARC provided by Publisher**