Today I’m also over the moon to be on the blog tour of The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright. An absolutely fantastic, creepy dual timeline mystery that completely sucked me in and had me guessing right until the very end……Get yourself a cuppa, this is a long review!
about the haunting at bonaventure circus
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. 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.
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.
Published by: Bethany House Publishers on 1st September 2020
Formats available: Harback, Paperback, Audiobook and eBook
Well…..what can I say?! I absolutely loved this! With aspects of lots of my favourite things – ghosts, mystery, murder, serial killers, history – told through a dual timeline and a little romance, I genuinely didn’t ever want to put this down, or want it to end!
The dual timeline is told from two points of view – Pippa, back in 1928 and Chandler in the present day. Pippa is the daughter of the circus owner, in a time when women were repressed, and had only just won the vote. Obedient to begin with, Pippa follows the orders of her father. But the mystery of her past is haunting her, and with messages arrived from ‘The Watchman’ – Pippa can’t suppress her need to investigate – whether it means breaking the rules or not. Whilst on her search, she crosses paths with one of the circus employees who has his own search to complete; but what Pippa doesn’t realise is that their searches may intertwine…..But is she safe, or is her unravelling mystery pulling her closer to danger?
Meanwhile in the present day, Chandler has just moved to the small historical town of Bluff River for work, who have just purchased the old circus depot. With a view to restoring this historical building, Chandler must learn the history of the place. But what she’s not prepared for are the numerous ghost stories, and tales of murder……As she starts on her investigation, she uncovers more than she bargained for…… And not only does she have to learn to settle in a new town with creepy stories, she also has to manage her health and being a single mother….
Honestly, this picked me up, swept me away and didn’t put me down until the last page. There were so many amazing plot twists that I didn’t see coming, no matter how much I tried to figure things out, I couldn’t…and this rarely happens. I usually have some inclination but this definitely got one over on me!
The characters are brilliant. We get to see Pippa develop wonderfully throughout the story, and it was so satisfying. Her time is completely different to Chandler’s and Wright portrayed this amazingly well; It was easy to jump backwards and forwards between the chapters. Chandler is an interesting and complex character. I didn’t particularly warm to her to start with as she’s so cold, but you do learn why and I ended up feeling sorry for her. Again, I was completely satisfied around how things turn out for her – and she goes through a lot! My particular favourites were Hank and Jake (clearly love a bit of a bad boy!) – I will say no more though, and will let you read this and make your own decisions!
I really enjoyed the historical aspect and learning about the circus. I remember going to a circus when I was a kid where they had animals, and that now really disturbs me (poor animals). I would have definitely been joining in with the animal activists and making a pain of myself!
Wright portrays circus life in such a wonderful (but sad) way. A place where those that are different, who don’t feel like they have a place in the world, go to belong. I just find it really sad that these people usually became spectacles for the paying public to gawp at. But the camaraderie and family feel that they had with each other is heartwarming. The circus’ of today are most definitely a world away from how they were back then.
The haunting/ghost/serial killer aspect is fantastic. There are so many spine chilling and heart stopping moments, in both the past and present day – that you can’t not be taken on a wonderful rollercoaster ride!
It is worth noting that this is also classed as Christian fiction, however this is only touched on lightly, looking at the faith of the characters. This is gently and beautifully done so you don’t even really realise, it’s just part of the story.
So to finish and summarise, I absolutely wholeheartedly adored and enjoyed this book and am actually really sad it’s over. It’s one of those that you could easily read over a few weeks and every time you pick it up, you will easily slip back into the wonderful story. I loved it the much that I now need to read the rest of the books by this author – I’m so glad I discovered her, and will be adding her books to my Christmas list!
So if you’re looking for your next historical/mystery/serial killer dual timeline that will blow you away and deliver an amazing, moving and wonderful story, then you should 100% check this out. Highly recommended by me.
about the Jaime Jo wright
Jaime Jo Wright is the author of five novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo, her husband Cap’n Hook, and their littles, Peter Pan, and CoCo. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com.
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Huge thanks to the ladies at Love Books Tours for inviting me on to the tour, and to Jaime and Bethany House Publishing for gifting me with a copy of the book. All views and opinions are my own.
Have a wonderful day all – I’m off now to carry on writing my Cold War essay!
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