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Book Review: The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed being among the Northwoods, helping her father with programming at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess, who still roams the woods. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coons cabin ruins and a rotting porcelain doll. But even more terrifying is seeing her name etched on the doll’s foot like a sinister omen.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last ten years carrying the mantle of mystery since she emerged from the forest as an eight-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger’s axe. She has accepted she’ll never remember what happened to her family. When a member of the town of Tempter’s Creek is murdered, rumors spread that Ava’s secret is more malicious than previously imagined.

Both women discover that to save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.

What I Loved: Confession: I have yet to read a Wright book that I didn’t love, that didn’t make me read with the lights on, and that didn’t keep me guessing until the end. But somehow The Souls of Lost Lake may have been among her best work.
Now, this story does contain a rather gruesome crime and there are details in there, that while not OVERLY shocking, may still be a tad more than we’re used to. It was certainly her most gruesome tale to date … and gruesome isn’t exactly my thing.
But the mystery. The mystery is very much my thing, and as usual, Wright kept my mind spinning even when I wasn’t reading, trying to figure out exactly who, when, why, and how. I typically can figure out some piece of the puzzle, but never the entire thing. And The Souls of Lost Lake was right up there with the best of mysteries.
The romance … sigh. I was greatly satisfied. It was clean. It was sweet. There was chemistry bouncing off the walls. It was perfection. Wright has the most consistent handle on brooding, silent men, and I love her all the more for it.
But even better than the romance and the mystery were the spiritual elements. While it may have been her most gruesome novel, I’d have to say that it’s likely her most Christian novel. It was an absolute treat to read a variety of edifying thoughts along with the story. It would be my dream come true to see her continue to incorporate solid Christianity in all of her stories with this kind of steady, artful hand.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy a good suspenseful scare, old ghost stories, mysteries, and a dual-timeline.

I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for my review or required to give a favorable one.

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