~ About the Book ~
For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant façade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.
A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.
Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.
Genre: Romantic suspense/time-slip
Release date: 3 July 2018
Publisher: Bethany House
~ Excerpt ~
Heavens. What a tragic mess today was. Made more horrid by the fact that every time she blinked, Libby saw Deacon Greenwood’s dead face.
“Excuse me.” She cleared her throat. “Paul?”
“Yes?” He spun his attention toward her. The man practically pecked her eyes out with his glare.
Libby stared at him. He was a daunting crank of a man.
“What is it, Miss Sheffield?”
Yes. All right. Libby summoned courage. Paul wasn’t Elijah, nor was he doomed to die by premature obituary. She mustered her wits and launched herself into the conversation. “There was an obituary left here this morning. I’m not certain when it was slipped into the mail slot, but when I arrived here at six-thirty, I almost stepped on the envelope.”
“Fine.” Paul waved his hand in dismissal. “It’s too late to print in today’s paper. We’ll set it for press tonight.”
“No, but that’s just it!” Curse these men who wouldn’t let her finish a cohesive thought. Libby pushed against the desk, rising so her dress floated around her ankles and her height gave her a bit of advantage over the shorter newspaperman. “The obituary was for Deacon Greenwood.”
Paul paused, as if unsure how to calculate the information and reach a conclusion.
Libby hurried on. “I just saw Deacon Greenwood last evening, at dinner at the Fairfield Boardinghouse. He was very much alive.” She had Paul’s full attention now. “I determined it had to be a wicked joke. I wanted to make sure of Deacon Greenwood’s welfare, so I left the paper after I found the obit this morning. Calvin was outside and he accompanied me.”
Paul’s eyebrow raised and he sagged against the doorjamb. Libby could see he was reaching the correct deduction.
“Are you telling me it was you who discovered Deacon Greenwood?”
Libby nodded, the vision flooding her memory like a nightmare.
Paul rammed his spectacles up his nose and took a step forward. “You found him?” he repeated, as if she’d been bumbling in conversation again and confused him.
“Yes.” Libby detested the watery tone to her voice, but she couldn’t help it. She’d stood there while they cut him down too. Watched as Elijah had delivered a swift, grief-stricken kick against the wooden stool his father had once stood on, shattering it against the wall.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Paul wasn’t empathetic, but more offended that she’d for some reason kept so mum while the two men sparred and wouldn’t let her get a word in edgewise.
Libby cleared her throat. “This morning was dreadful. I never truly expected to find him dead. But the obituary . . .” She waited, hoping Paul would put two and two together. When he looked back at her as if waiting, she plunged ahead. “I arrived at the paper at six-thirty this morning.”
“You already stated that,” Paul snapped.
Libby nodded. “I was reading Deacon Greenwood’s obituary before I discovered him dead. Before anyone discovered him dead.”
~ Review ~
Ahh, delicious! I love the atmosphere Jaime Jo Wright creates in her stories—the kind of atmosphere that gives you goosebumps and has you constantly looking over the character’s shoulder, or maybe your own! Whilst not falling strictly within the Gothic genre, there’s definitely a Gothic feel to this novel—family secrets, past and present; death and unexplained (though not supernatural) happenings; a run-down trailer with a strange collection of obituaries and photos; and the mysterious Jacobus Corbin, who inspired a constant internal tug-of-war between wariness and fascination. And then there’s that constant sense of suspicion and anticipation that prickles the back of your neck and dances across your shoulders…
The time-slip format worked really well in this novel, allowing the reader to observe the historical events as they played out at the same time as the contemporary characters are trying to discover what really happened. And yet the plot kept me guessing on both counts! The historical story was particularly intriguing thanks to the twin revivalists, Jedediah and Jacobus Corbin—who, I might add, were based on actual historical persons. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t bother with the author’s notes at the end of the book, make an exception for this one. Truth really does make the best fiction at times! But I was equally invested in the contemporary story, thanks in no small part to the presence of Garrett Greenwood and the personal history between him and Annalise.
However, one of the things I loved most about this novel was that sin was a character in its own right. Hidden sins, weaknesses, and brokenness—these were the true spectres that haunted Gossamer Grove and needed to be brought into the light of day, even after the human villains were discovered. And a final word on the romance: subtle, but very well suited to the characters and the tone of the story.
Can’t wait for the next book from this author!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Other Books by Jaime Jo Wright ~
Read my review for The House on Foster Hill
~ About the Author ~
Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.