Friday, October 9, 2020

THE HAUNTING AT BONAVENTURE CIRCUS by Jaime Jo Wright, Reviewed by Winnie and Paula

Once again Jaime Jo Wright has penned a fascinating and riveting dual timeline novel that kept me on the edge of my seat to the stunning end. With realistically flawed, but intriguing and engaging characters and a plot only Wright could dream up, she gives us a backstage look at the circus that might have you changing your view of circuses. The sinister and ominous undertones that I’ve come to expect from her stories were there from the start and had me guessing and re-guessing.

Although this book started out a bit slow for me, it soon picked up and I became engrossed in the stories of these characters. The two storylines are woven seamlessly together in Wright’s trademark style, and the pictures she paints with her words are vividly brought to mind. I love the way she incorporates faith elements and truths into her tales. The worth of each soul and the need to belong and to be loved for oneself stood out to me and gave a satisfying takeaway.

I’m definitely a Jaime Jo Wright fan. Her stories are never run-of-the-mill in plot or characters, and I always know I’m in for an amazing ride when I pick up one of her books. 4.5 stars
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author and publisher. All opinions are my own.

Jaime Jo Wright has delighted me again with her gripping and unique brand of fiction. I have coined a new phrase for her stories: CREEPY GOOD!

Dual time books have become a favorite genre for me. Ms. Wright pieces the timelines together with just the right touch. She gives spectacular cliffhangers to the end of some of the chapters to keep you turning pages and wanting more. This is not just entertainment; Ms. Wright weaves life lessons and spiritual truths into the story for good measure.

Regarding circus elephants: Quote “they were not loved so much as treasured. And there was a difference between the two. Love sacrificed, whereas a treasure was hoarded.” Pippa can relate to that.

Pippa on her connection with Forrest: Quote “It was a relationship that reminded her of her paper dolls. Stiff but pretty. Fake but full of imaginary potential.”

The dual time heroines have something in common. They are both insecure and trying to prove themselves worthy. Pippa in 1928 is searching for her true identity and it centers around the circus that her father owns. Chandler is trying to live down a life mistake she made ages ago and can be a bit prickly and untrusting, while trying to be independent and better than competent. Quote “ Maybe she was shutting people out, even while she ached to be seen. It was a wicked oxymoron. But wasn’t that what life was?”

The heroes are unlikely on the surface. Ms. Wright aptly shows that you should not judge by appearances. As one character says: Quote “ If we were all good and flawless, then Jesus wasted His blood.” Hank, in present time: Quote “We all need saving. It’s the idea that we don’t that makes us fools.”

Some highlights were the interaction between Pippa and the baby elephant and Pippa and her dog. The relationship that Chandler had with her son was precious. Peter’s superhero persona, Nitro Man, was a hoot.

With this book you can expect the unexpected!

This is definitely one of my top picks for 2020.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
I give this a more than 5 star rating. A solid faith thread. 
See Nicole's, Trixi's, and Rebecca's reviews!
BackCover Blurb:
Welcome to Bonaventure Circus, where misfits go to hide.
In 1928, the Bonaventure Circus has become a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby and is no longer content to leave the reason for that rejection unquestioned. 
When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.
Decades later, an old circus train depot's future hangs in the balance--it will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its fate rests on Realtor Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

Bethany House Publishing, Sept. 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
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