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.
It seems like I've been reading Jaime Jo Wright's books all the time, but really I've been trying to read more and reviews and blog posts have fallen to the wayside. However, I was super thrilled to join the launch team for her newest book, even if my social media book presence has slowed.
Wright has the ability to take you into the minds and souls of her characters while using using suspense and mystery in a tasteful way. Pippa and Chandler's story both resonated with me in different ways. I appreciated how the physical limitations of a deformed leg and disease along with the mental limitations of anxiety brought out different relational connections between Pippa and Chandler. And Pippa finds comfort in a dog while Chandler places her hopes and dreams in her son, Peter.
After recently seeing The Greatest Showman again, this book circus setting came alive for me in a new way. While I've never personally attended a circus, the movie gave me the mental images and lifestyle, and Jaime's book created a story within a story. Circuses are like any other scenario where the outward lifestyle is a scene which may not accurately reflect the characters lives until you get to know them, and even then, Jaime's characters learn much about each other--some good, some bad.
A strange theme in this book was the hierarchy of power in victims lives. I think too often I wonder why victims don't stand up for themselves or run away or find help. But the mental limitations and abuse they endure leads them into a life that is much more complicated. Often the risks of moving outside the "group" lead to more danger than remaining--at least for the present.
Once again, I love Wright's ability to create lives, scenes, characters, hopes and dreams, wins and losses, and tackle the hard topics in her novels. Thank you for letting me join your launch team, Jaime!!
*I received this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review.