Shelly Miller's new book recounts the mystery and history of Montevallo. (CONTRIBUTED)
Shelly Miller's new book recounts the mystery and history of Montevallo. (CONTRIBUTED)

Archived Story

Montevallo’s traditions, eerie aura revealed in Miller’s book

Published 7:42pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

MADISON – Shelly Miller defines the elusive entity of a small Southern town in “Whispered Secrets of the South: Montevallo, Alabama,” which is first in a series.

“With small towns, you never know what you’re going to get, but with Montevallo, you get it all – lions and crooks and ghosts, oh my,” Miller said.

Considered historical fiction, the book also presents true stories “or as close as you can get to the truth. Emily Dickinson put it this way, ‘Tell all the truth, but tell it slant,’” Miller said.

Miller chose Montevallo for her book’s setting during a college tour with her daughter. “You can’t beat the heritage. Small Southern towns have distinct personalities. Its people are the real deal,” she said.

After moving to Alabama, Miller was surprised by “townsfolk saying aloud the things I only thought, but doing it with so much disarming charm.” She sometimes thanked people for possible insults.

Miller believes history and mystery buffs will find her book entertaining. While most people don’t remember facts and dates, they remember stories, she said. “I sought to entertain readers by making the past come alive, but Montevallo’s ghosts did a good job by themselves — and still are.”

Montevallo’s most famous ghost, Condie Cunningham, burned to death in 1908. Her face appears on dorm doors. Miller saw the latest ‘cursed’ door in Montevallo’s library.

The book explains Montevallo’s odd homecoming tradition … especially odd considering the college doesn’t have a football team. “After reading the book, you’ll want to experience College Night for yourself and maybe even a ghost hunt,” Miller said. Readers also will be tempted to take a scavenger hunt.

Purposefully, Miller omitted two big secrets in “Whispered Secrets.” “I count on my readers to be witty and resourceful,” she said. “They can read between the lines and will catch the innuendoes.”

The book is available at

For more information, email to or visit, Facebook/whisperedsecretsmontevallo, Twitter @shellymiller56 or

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