Monday, October 26, 2020

Review: "The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus" by Jaime Jo Wright

October is the perfect time for some creepy/spooky/scary reads ... unless you're a wimp like me! I used to be all in for scary stories, but now I can't handle them. At all. So something like Jaime Jo Wright's mildly-spooky-but-not-scary The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus is perfect for someone like me!


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.

It starts a little slowly. That's the only thing preventing me from giving this five stars, and I so wish that I had been able to get into the novel a bit faster. As it was, it took me a good 90 pages to get hooked. But once I was in, I was in!

The mysteries in this novel - regarding the identity of the Watchman, the truth about Pippa's past, and the disappearance of a woman in the 1980's - are spot on. I didn't have any of them figured out, and I'm usually pretty good at identifying these things! So it was a fun ride trying (and failing) at being a detective.

Besides the mysteries, I really appreciated that Chandler had health struggles that drastically impacted her life. Though my autoimmune disease is different than hers, so many things she went through struck a chord with me, and I was thrilled to see someone with chronic health issues as the protagonist of a novel. Pippa, heroine of the 1928 plot line, also had a physical ailment that had impacted her since birth. 

Both timelines feature a bit of romance. Chandler's is fairly understated yet sweet, and I'm not really sure what I think about Pippa's romance, though it was written well. 

Overall, this is such an enjoyable novel! It has mystery and a bit of suspense without being too gruesome. (Some of the talk about ghosts may make some readers uncomfortable.) To me, it's the perfect Halloween read. 4-1/2 stars.

Read my review of The Curse of Misty Wayfair (4 stars).

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher's Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This mean that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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