What happened to Jasmine Riviera?
Who murdered Hazel?
Why was Pippa abandoned?
These questions are only the beginning of the stories explored in Jaime Jo Wright’s novels, The Souls of Lost Lake, Echoes Among the Stones, and The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus, respectively. I have read nearly all of Wright’s novels and enjoyed them, especially her most recent one, The Souls of Lost Lake.
Jaime Jo Wright has a distinctive writing style; each novel follows the story of two women, roughly a century apart, and alternates between each woman’s perspective. I normally do not like this style because it is hard for me to keep track of the stories, but in these novels, I enjoy that the plots work together. Additionally, each novel contains a supernatural element, usually an alleged ghost, that turns out to be someone (or something) pretending to be the ghost. The novels are the perfect combination of historical fiction, mystery, and romance in addition to Christian themes.
After reading several of Wright’s novels, the stories are a little repetitive, but I enjoyed The Souls of Lost Lake because the plot twists constantly surprised me and contradicted my expectations.
The Souls of Lost Lake
Ava Coons, accused of murdering her entire family, is now accused of murdering another member of Tempter’s Creek. No one is willing to help her except for Reverend Noah Pritchard, and together, they seek the real murderer. Ninety years later, Arwen Blythe struggles with feeling lost, like six-year-old Jasmine Riviera, who mysteriously disappears. Jasmine is not the first to go missing near the infamous Lost Lake, where Ava Coons allegedly murdered her family decades before. (In case you are wondering as I was, the name “Arwen” is one of the novel’s many references to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series.)
I absolutely love this novel; I could not put it down and stayed up until 1 A.M. one night to finish it! Even so, the beginning of the novel did not hook me; I did not become interested until about a third of the way through the book, where the plot pace increases. Both mysteries are extremely suspenseful, and the romance that develops between Ava and Noah is well written.
The Souls of Lost Lake contains Christian themes, especially in Ava’s story, which cautions against judging people based on appearances or because they are different. Both women struggle with their faith, making them easy to identify with. In addition, the novel portrays grief in a powerful, Christian way.
Even though I love this novel, I found the ending unsatisfactory. Both Arwen and Ava experience traumatic events, and I feel that this is downplayed. They never explicitly realize that God can help them through their trauma, and I wish the novel gave the characters more development regarding their faith. I also do not like that Ava’s innocence is never revealed; in Arwen’s story, Ava is still remembered as a murderer. Despite these criticisms, I enjoyed both stories and highly recommend The Souls of Lost Lake to ages sixteen and up.
Don’t miss my next post, where I will be reviewing Echoes Among the Stones and The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus!
Young Adult Blogger
Kathryn Dover lives in South Carolina with her family including six cats (and counting!), a dog, two fish, and many house plants. She attends Presbyterian College and is currently planning to double major in Math and Creative Writing. Kathryn loves writing, especially plays, and she completed and performed her first play, The Sexton, at 14. She’s not sure what she wants to do as a career, only that she wants to write, but is trusting that God has a plan for her life to use her in a powerful way. College takes up most of her time, but in her free time, she likes to read, play with her pets, and grow plants.