Mystery | Suspense | Christian Fiction
Reasons to Love
Spiritualism | Spiritual Warfare | Loss | Grief | Mystery
What would you do if the whole town thought you were crazy? Or you had to keep quiet because you knew they absolutely would think you were crazy if you spoke up about what you saw around your farm? Even if they were starting to guess something wasn’t quite right with you, better to keep them in the dark, right?
Sometimes the whole world seems swallowed up by madness, and we meet both heroines Perliett (our historical heroine) and Molly (our modern-day gal) right there in the middle of it. Perliett’s whole town, especially Dr. Wasziak, considers her healing practice “quackery,” and it really sets her off. Meanwhile, Molly sees and feels things that just aren’t natural and knows if she comes clean that her husband and her best friend won’t just wonder if she’s crazy, they’ll know.
Although Wright’s opening line refused to invite death, it invites the reader into a heartbreaking and difficult story told with elegance, grace, and humor: When death came to visit, no one ever prepared tea and cookies (p. 7). This one line told me exactly what I’d find in this tale of woe and wonder: humor, mystery, and comfort woven in like a good taste of tea and cookies. And that’s exactly what I got.
Having friends who farm and/or homestead, it didn’t take long for my imaginative eyes to develop a clear image of Withers Farm or the Van Hilton home. Chills pebbled my skin when Wright spoke of the corn field at night and voices on the wind and creepy child apparitions in just-as-creepy attics. (What is it about children in these spooky settings, anyway?) My heart raced every time Maribeth Van Hilton hosted a séance, and I always saw that room with dark paneled wood walls, drenched in black and shadows no matter the time of day.
Wright’s descriptions made the characters just as easy to visualize—something I’ve always appreciated about her writing. I could see Trent’s frustrated and downcast expressions when Molly wouldn’t trust him with her pain. I cried tears with Molly at Trent’s lack of understanding for what she had shared, and what she kept holding back. I felt my ire rise when people accused Perliett of doing harmful things and my humility begrudgingly bubble to the surface when she began to wonder if they might be right—and if George Wasziak wasn’t quite the bad guy she’d made him out to be. It took some time, but I also sunk into George’s concern, compassion, and sense of justice—especially his desire to see Perliett thrive. He just . . . didn’t know how to show his emotions the right way for a while.
I’ve started suspense novels where I guessed the ending on the first page and never finished. Maybe my mind is twisted, or maybe it’s the storyteller in me just begging to be unleashed. But I never have it all figured out with Wright’s books. It’s like unwrapping a present within a present and the smallest box is the last scene—a gift more beautiful and wonder-filled than you ever could have guessed.
This wasn’t my first of Jaime Jo Wright’s books, and as I write, I’m staring at the beautiful cover of the one I’m currently reading: The Vanishing at Castle Moreau. And I can already tell I’m going to love it.
Perliett p. 21
Empathy. Empathy was the emotion that warred with the brutality of death.
Gladys p. 195
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that what you think isn’t always what is. There are stories behind each of us, and until we shush up and listen, we’ll never hear the truth of it.
Molly p. 370
But this time—for the first time in a long time—the not-saying-anything said absolutely everything.
Sometimes people don’t know the best ways to love us. That doesn’t mean they don’t care; they just might not express it in a way that communicates love to us. But above all and no matter what, true love protects. True love tells the truth. True love stays. And . . . true love heals.
(None | Mild | Medium | Harsh)
No foul language in this book.
Some argue that Wright’s books slip too far into the dark and mysterious. Some say her mysteries are too much for them, and they can’t read them at night. This has not been my experience; I find them a realistic representation of the spiritual battle that rages between light and darkness, good and evil. Wright’s stories always come with a healthy dose of hope and humor as well. That being said—know yourself. If you get creeped out easily, maybe mystery and suspense isn’t the best genre for you. Or, maybe, just read during the day.
A few other quick notes: Spiritualism is discussed (accurate to the historical character’s timeline), as are miscarriages, mental health, and of course, murder.
There are a few kisses and gentle touches here. Definitely nothing inappropriate.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
The voices of the past cannot stay silent forever.
In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn’t help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.
In the present day, Molly Wasziak’s life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband’s purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.
Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?
About the Author
Jaime Jo, the coffee-fueled and cat-fancier extraordinaire, has entwined her life with the legendary Captain Hook, residing serenely in Wisconsin’s rural woodlands.
Her literary vocation involves penning chilling Gothic tales, a baffling change from that of Austenites, with a strong preference to the master of dark, Edgar Allan Poe. Two mischievous urchins adorn their family, who keep their mother on her toes – providing an exhilarating amount chaos.
What about you?
I’d love to hear from you! What Jaime Jo Wright book is your favorite? What were your thoughts on this one? What other Christian suspense books have you read and enjoyed? Or what are you reading right now that you really love? Drop a comment below!
I’d like to check out The Premonition at Withers Farm—where can I buy it?
You’ll find everything you need by following this link to the author’s website.
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