Book Review: The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Every town holds secrets but only a few remain potent enough to wound and destroy a century later. The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright illuminates the hidden parts of human nature — our desire to keep sin and shame hidden — as stories collide in this dual-narrative, century-crossing mystery.

From the Publisher:
“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 facade. Yet her strange and sudden inheritance of a run-down trailer home–full of pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters–leaves her wholly unprepared for how truly dark and deadly those secrets may be.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove is stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, while 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 solve the crime, it becomes clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives at the paper that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must unravel the mysteries of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.”

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My thoughts:

The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond is Jaime Jo Wright’s second novel and, in my opinion, the better of the two. Similar to her first book, The House on Foster Hill, this storyline bounces between two female protagonists who are separated by over a hundred years. Mystery and danger weave its way through each of the narratives as the women face unknown assailants determined to keep them from uncovering the truth.

I was immediately drawn to this book by its beautiful cover and intriguing premise. Truth be told though, I struggled to get into the story. The writing felt wordy and occasionally forced. (Example: “Corbin released her, but his eyes, the pools of shadows around them, speared her like a ghost risen from the grave who had seen the pit of hell.” Page 67.) While the storyline held promise, those first few chapters didn’t hook me the way I’d hoped they would — mostly because it took me a while to actually connect with the main characters.

Once the town’s secrets began to be revealed, the book started to pick up for me and I began to enjoy the storyline and relationships between characters. While there were definite romantic storylines written for each of the women, I appreciated that they weren’t the usual cliche, cheesy interactions that you often find in Christian fiction. The relationships felt real and didn’t always follow predictable patterns.

I also appreciated how the faith elements were presented. Faith flowed naturally throughout the story without feeling over-bearing or contrived.

My one disappointment was with the conclusion to Annalise’s storyline. It was a surprising twist but the culprit didn’t seem to have as convincing of a motive as I would have liked. (This was an issue for me with Wright’s first novel as well.) Comparatively, the conclusion to Libby’s storyline was both surprising, satisfying, and seemingly better thought out.

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On the whole, I enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a mystery novel that isn’t overly intense or gory, with intriguing characters, and faith-based plots, this is a great option!

I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5!

 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


Book Review: The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

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