“With death came the certainty that life would always be a mere breath of hopeful continuance.”
I’ve never been much of a fan of dual time period narratives. It’s hard to get engrossed in the minds or time of one set of characters only to be pulled out of that place in the next chapter or two. So when I decided to read this book I knew that there was a high chance I might have a hard time connecting with the characters because of the changing narrative. Well now I can convincingly say that was not a problem at all with this book.
To be honest I’m shocked that this is Wright’s first solo book. I checked out her page and while she’s had material included in anthology series, she doesn’t seem to have had her own standalone piece until this book, which surprises me. It does so because this book is so marvelous. Well written, mind capturing and hard to put down, I can say without a doubt that for a first standalone book this is quite an impressive one.
There are two narratives in this book, Kaine Prescott and her ancestor Ivy Thorpe. A lot of the plot revolves around how these two women are linked even though they’re centuries apart. How can generations of history affect the present?
As far as story goes I enjoyed Ivy’s much more than Kaine’s. That probably has a lot to do with the period nerd in me, I just love anything having to do with historical writing. I also think that Ivy and her love interest Joel were much more fleshed out and their story together was so wonderfully complex. The evolution of redeeming their broken relationship and all of the misconceptions on Ivy’s part were so beautifully written. And I liked the fact that Wright never felt the need to over-explain, she always left just enough for the next chapter and the next; building that suspense of the romance and the restoration. Like this quote below, it gives just a glimpse of the connection between the two, but it makes you want to know more and that’s the beauty of a well written romantic plot.
“He’d often teased her that her feet had wings and she flew without thinking. She always told him thinking was too painful and one day he would learn to fly ahead of her.”
Kaine’s story was good, but I think my dislike of her story had more to do with her fast paced relationship with Grant than anything else. The mystery surrounding her stalker and the clues she found in the house were all great, but I found that I was not enjoying how insta-romance her and Grant became. In the end it would’ve been nice for them to have been more of a friendship team and then for the feelings to have budded at the end, in my opinion.
Of course, both stories were tied together by this overarching mysterious death of a woman that happened in Ivy’s time and trying to solve who was the murderer and where this woman’s baby had disappeared to. The unfolding of this mystery throughout the book was done especially well. I’ll admit to being just as clueless as the characters the entire way through the book, which made the reading even better as I too wanted to know who-dun-it and where this mysterious baby had vanished to. The suspense was gripping the entire way through the book, and even in the end there are a few threads that aren’t neatly tied, which leaves it up for us as readers to finish out some of the pieces.
The faith element of this book was beautifully written as well. I always enjoy when an author is able to weave faith into a book without making it seem forced and being able to work religion into the story in a way that’s true to life. Wright manages to make the character of Gabriella (the woman who’s death and missing child both Ivy and Kaine are trying to solve) a catalyst for the restoration of faith for both Ivy and Kaine. Much of the book revolves around these scribblings that are discovered to be from Gabriella, ones she writes about her faith, God and her suffering, one such scribbling really summed up what I believe much of the premise of the book to be about,
“What will I leave behind? What will my legacy be? I choose hope.”
This book had a lot to do with legacy. What will we leave for those who come after us and who will remember? But this book shows that it’s about the person we are and the God we trust in to handle our lives and circumstances, no matter how unfortunate, that matters. That is what will carry on in the end.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved to read a good mystery / suspense or historical book and I look forward to any new books Jamie Jo Wright has coming out in the future!
*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*
Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery / Suspense, Historical
Links: Goodreads / Amazon
Author: Jamie Jo Wright
Publisher: Bethany House
Synopsis (Goodreads) : Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.
A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–
including her own–are lost?