Night Falls on Predicament Avenue – Jaime Jo Wright

Night Falls on Predicament Avenue by Jaime Jo Wright
Also by this author: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus, The Premonition at Withers Farm, The Premonition at Withers Farm, The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater, The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater
Published by Bethany House on April 9, 2024
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Historical, Mystery
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In 1910, Effie James is living a dream for two. Her younger sister is harboring a secret that has left timid Effie determined to fulfill her daring sister's grand plan of seeking out adventure in their small Iowa town. When a British gentleman arrives, disrupting their peace with efforts to find the wife many claim lived her final days at the now abandoned house at 322 Predicament Avenue, Effie is thrust into intrigue she couldn't have prepared for. But what she finds inside will forever link her to the scandal staining the house's walls and to a woman whose secrets promise a curse.
A century later, Norah Richman is living out her late-twin's dream of running their great aunt's bed-and-breakfast on Predicament Avenue--a place Norah believes nothing good can come out of after her sister's abduction and murder thirteen years ago. Her first guest is a crime historian and podcaster, and Norah resolves to stay far away from the charming and enigmatic man--until another guest is found dead. As they dig deeper, something sinister unfurls that will reveal an ominous unknown far greater than the possibility of death itself.

What is it about Jaime Jo Wright’s books that are so entrancing? Is it the characters? The paranormal? The danger and the crime? All of the above, I tell you. Night Falls on Predicament Avenue by Jaime Jo Wright is enthralling. It is a book that will make you question what you think you know about ghosts and legends. Wright makes every instance of ghostly interference fully believable. With unsolved murders, attempted murders, and a splash of romance, Wright’s newest work is one I wholeheartedly recommend to any reader—historical fiction, romance, paranormal, mystery. Wright touches almost every genre besides fantasy and science fiction.

In 1910, Effie James is the “goody two shoes” of her family. She’s the one about whom her parents need not worry. Her younger sister, however, convinces her to step away from that persona for a night to visit the mostly abandoned house on Predicament Avenue. When Polly goes to kiss the doorknocker—a dare well established among the town’s youth—she sees a murder occur inside the home. Polly, however, is unable to answer any questions about what she saw, and Effie can only say she heard the screams. A British gentleman arrives in town, claiming someone had murdered his wife inside the house. Despite the risk to her reputation, Effie is determined to prove what her sister saw, as well as help Lewis Anderson discover what happened to Isabelle Addington.

Norah Richman now owns the Predicament Avenue home a hundred years later. It was her murdered sister’s dream to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast, and Norah wants to continue her legacy. Her social anxiety does everything it can to interfere with her life, even more so when true crime podcaster Sebastian Blaine stays at the establishment. Why? To investigate the unsolved murder of Isabelle Addington. Norah doesn’t expect him to dig into her sister’s murder, as well. Facing all of her fears, Norah helps him search for the truth about Isabelle, though she soon sees truths about other things, instead—herself and her past.

Night Falls on Predicament Avenue by Jaime Jo Wright is more than a ghost story. I, for one, know of few other books with a character like Norah in the spotlight: a woman who sometimes wishes she’d never left treatment. The novel provides valuable lessons on grief and death, as well as the value of companionship during despair. While the book is at its heart a haunted house story, there is so much more depth to it. What I appreciate most about Wright is her ability to put into words feelings my heart has experienced but cannot describe. Grief is more than sadness. Joy is more than happiness. Jaime Jo Wright shines with this novel, and I wish I could read it again for the first time.