Also by this author: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus, The Premonition at Withers Farm, The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater, The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater
Published by Bethany House on October 11, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Mystery, Suspense
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In 1910 Michigan, Perliett VanHilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor, George Wasziak, convinced she practices quackery. It doesn't help that her mother, Maribeth VanHilton, is a Spiritualist who regularly offers her services to help others speak to their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she relies on both George and an intriguing newcomer for help.
In the present day, life has not developed the way Molly Wasziak dreamed. Facing depression after multiple miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband's purchase of a new farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a vintage web of deceptions, made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds in the old farmhouse.
Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time silence their truths forever?
Jaime Jo Wright just continues to get better. The Premonition at Withers Farm is the latest on Wright’s climb up the echelon of Christian fiction, showcasing her now-characteristic dual timelines, eerie atmosphere, and well-written characters. The effect of the past on the present is such a powerful concept, whether one looks at it within families, communities, or even nations. In The Premonition at Withers Farm, Wright ties together a story from 1910 about a rash of murders in a rural town with similarly unfortunate circumstances happening just over a hundred years later.
In 1910, self-proclaimed folk healer Perliett Van Hilton does her best with what she has, yet continually finds herself at odds with the trained doctor in town. It doesn’t help that Perliett’s mother is a spiritualist who claims to be able to connect with the dead. It sets up a conflict—both within the novel and in the reader’s mind—between the natural and supernatural…and how the supernatural should be approached. When a young woman is murdered, Perliett finds herself caught up in all the drama and perhaps even a target herself.
Meanwhile, in the present day, Molly Wasziak and her husband have just moved into their new lives on the farm, seeking escape from the harshness of life. A series of miscarriages has strained their relationship with Molly becoming reclusive and distant. When a distant family member is found murdered near the farm—and Molly learns she had been researching their family history—Molly is drawn deep into a generational mystery that goes back to Perliett. A mystery that is still getting people killed.
If I had to describe a Jaime Jo Wright book in one word, that word would be atmospheric. For Wright, the novel’s place is more than just a location. It is itself a character, often the one constant linking the two (or more) storylines. Every one of her books, except The Curse of Misty Wayfair, is titled to draw out that emphasis:
The House on Foster Hill
The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond
Echoes Among the Stones
The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus
On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor
The Souls of Lost Lake
The Premonition at Withers Farm
With such an emphasis, it becomes important that Wright offers readers a fully-immersive and believable setting. It can’t be bland. It can’t be generic. The story that she’s writing must only be able to happen in this place. Place is crucial to the story, but a novel’s setting is about more than just its location—it’s also about atmosphere. A Jaime Jo Wright novel is characterized by an unsettling eeriness tinged with the supernatural, hung low and heavy over her novel’s location like a dense fog. It permeates people, places, and pages, pulling you into the story. Even when you break from the page and the story leaves your mind, reality around you still feel like you’re inside the world she’s created. As Jaime Jo Wright’s career has developed, her ability to make the setting come alive in that way has only gotten better and better. The Premonition at Withers Farm is an enchantingly engaging journey that keeps your heart rate just a bit elevated and the pages turning at a fast-but-not-too-fast clip. Wright’s engaging settings make you want to slow down and feel the story out, but the mystery and suspense will keep you wanting to turn pages. It’s a book that’ll haunt you even after you’ve finished reading it and those are really the best books you can find.