Book Review: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jamie Jo Wright

About the Book-

1928
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.

Present Day
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.

My Review-

This was such an unexpectedly good book! When you think of a Christian fiction book, a book about a haunted circus is not what comes to mind. This book was super creepy and suspenseful, and in a good way: it would be a great falltime/Halloweentime read!

First off, the plot is split between 1928 and present time, which took me a while to get into. As a matter of fact, this whole book took a while for me to get into. I don’t think I have read any other books by Jamie Jo Wright, so I’m not sure if this is a feature of her writing, but reading reviews, it seems like it. The plot didn’t start picking up until page 250 or so, and before that, it was very slow reading.

I enjoyed the writing style, even if it was quite slow. The scenes are very vividly described, sometimes to the detriment of the actual plot, which I wasn’t super into. There were a lot of small actions that were described closely, and overall the writing style was pretty dense. With that, though, it was very easy to picture the scene and what is going on all the time.

As for the characters, I really liked the cast! There were a lot of characters, which I’m not very good with, and I was pretty confused by who was who pretty much all the way until the end of the book. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot about the antagonist until they were revealed, which made it confusing, to say the least. I really liked both Pippa and Chandler. I related more to Pippa and her struggles, but I’m not sure if that was because of how they were written: there was more insight into what Pippa was thinking, whereas for Chandler, it was more reactionary (if that makes sense: “she looked for x, so she did y” vs “she looked around frantically. she needed to see x”). I think overall I related to Pippa’s struggles more and we are in a more similar stage of life than I am with Chandler.

Like I mentioned earlier, this book was not what I expected! The story very much based on ghosts and Bonaventure Circus, which is rumored to be haunted. It was a lot spookier than I expected it to be, which was nice. It was always just an unexplained happenings scary, not actual scary scary, and it was fun to read. I think the story did a pretty good job of explaining what happened, without explicitly saying whether or not ghosts are real.

Overall, I really liked the story! I enjoyed the plot a lot (finding a serial killer, especially a historical one, is so interesting to me), and while the story took a long time to get into, it was very good once it started moving!

My Rating-

7/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

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