BEST GIRL FRIENDS by Christin Brecher
In 15 Minutes of Flame, the latest book of the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, Stella Wright is on the trail of two murders, one from the past and one from the present, all while helping the island’s Girl Scouts prepare for their Halloween Haunts Fundraiser. After finding the skeleton of a 19th century women, Stella connects with the women who ran businesses on what was then popularly referred to as the town’s Petticoat Row. In a town where the men embarked on whaling voyages that would last months and even years, and where a Quaker work ethic pervaded, Nantucket women ran businesses, assumed leadership roles in the community, and even led the household’s investment decisions when necessary, all, of course, while managing homes and raising children.
It is no surprise that when Stella discovers a link to these women in her investigations, she takes the challenge of solving a cold case murder of over one hundred years personally. For one thing, her candle store, the Wick & Flame, is located on Centre Street, which was the actual location of Petticoat Row. Like her predecessors, Stella runs a business, follows her passions, thoughtfully cares for her friends and family, and isn’t afraid to jump in to the unknown. She is a quintessential cozy mystery heroine, but I also I think of her as a modern-day woman of Petticoat Row. I love that she is, even if fictionally, part of their sisterhood.
For me, the book was an absolute delight to write because I deeply value my friendships with women. One of my favorite scenes to write was between Stella and her best friend, Emily. While Emily and her baby daughter are home recovering from terrible colds, Stella swings by with some of the island’s best clam chowder (recipe included in the book!) to explore how and why two similarly close friends from over one hundred years ago made the choices they did. That scene took on a life of its own as Stella and Emily reminisce about shared childhood crushes, what a deep commitment to a friend means, and how friends deal with challenges to their relationships.
It feels fitting, then, that the title 15 Minutes of Flame – which I love – was developed along with one of my best friends. On a lark one day, I challenged this friend and my brother to a Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries title list, as they are two of the cleverest people I know. I’d already named the third book in the series, but the moment that 15 Minutes of Flame popped onto my phone, I knew we’d have to stop the presses. Fortunately, my editor agreed. In a book that is at heart about friendship, I love that one of my own dear friends was part of the journey.
Learn more about Christin Brecher at christinbrecher.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway