I don’t know if you have read any of Billy Coffey’s Mattingly Virginia books or not. They are made to read in any order, but I would try to read them in order of their being written as then the story of the town flows better. In the Heart of the Dark Wood is set 18 months after the end of When Mockingbirds Sing and continues the story of Allie Granderson and how she is dealing with the loss of her mother.
Allie’s mom was taken away in the tornado that hit Mattingly. Allie still relives the memories of her mother and always keep the Nativity scene that was in the front yard in sight. Her mother also left behind a broken compass.
Allie knows there is lots of growing up to do soon and she isn’t sure how she is going to do it without the help of her mother. When Mary is stolen from the Nativity and that broken compass suddenly starts working, Allie and her best friend Zach decide to follow where it leads. It leads into the heart of woods and may lead to more than either one is ready for.
With a bit of a shiver and some spiritual elements to it, Billy’s books are very different reads. They will not leave you with warm fuzzy feelings after you get done, but they may leave you looking at your life a little closer than you did in the past.