Wright is a master of the dual time novel. This one combines events of a wintering circus in 1928 with those of present day at the same location. Wright alternates time periods as she reveals the relationships between the historical events and current ones. The actions of a serial killer from nearly a hundred years ago still impact his descendants today.
Wright always seems to include a sense of the other worldly and it is quite prominent in this novel. Haunting in the title is right as there are mysterious noises and happenings, a definite creepy atmosphere. One of the minor characters is a spiritualist of sorts. The woman never uses her supposed abilities and there is a bit of a discussion of the possible demonic origin of the ability.
There is mystery and suspense and romance in both of the story lines. It takes quite a while, however, for those plot aspects to appear. I had a little difficulty finding the main characters engaging. Both the historical character, Pippa, and the contemporary one, Chandler, have issues of family acceptance and feelings of not being loved. I felt the character arcs on both were flat as I did not see them voluntarily grow through those issues. There were also examples of family expectations and shame in the stories, centering around who the characters understood themselves to be.
I have read all of Wright's novels and think this one is not her best. My interest did pick up after what I felt was a slow start.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Jaime Jo Wright is winner of the Christy, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards and is a Carol Award finalist. She is also the Publisher's Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. She works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. Find out more at jaimewrightbooks.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 400 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)