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Thursday, February 08, 2018

Gorgeous Cover the Best Thing About Creepy Dual-Timeline Murder Mystery

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although it seems morbid to others, 26-year-old Ivy Thorpe keeps a detailed "death journal" so that the people her father autopsies are never forgotten.  Still mourning the losses of her mother and her brother, the task soothes Ivy, helping her through her own grieving process.  When Ivy discovers the dead body of a young woman on the nearby grounds of an abandoned edifice known as Foster Hill House, she's shocked but determined.  This stranger will not be forgotten.  Enlisting the help of a childhood friend who is now a detective, Ivy launches her own amateur investigation—a decision that will put her in grave danger. 

Over a century later, Kaine Prescott, a weary social worker from San Diego, is looking for a new start.  Still devastated over the mysterious death of her husband two years ago and frustrated with the police for giving up on the case, she feels a desperate need to get out of California.  On a whim, she purchases an old house in Oakwood, Wisconsin, her grandfather's hometown.  One look at creepy old Foster Hill House, though, and Kaine's ready to run back to California.  When she learns of its dark history, she's even more unsettled.  The more she stays in the home, the more convinced she is that something sinister haunts its dusty hallways.  Determined to unearth its age-old secrets, she vows to exorcise its demons—and her own.

First of all, cast your eyes on the cover of The House on Foster Hill, a debut novel by Jaime Jo Wright.  It's gorgeous.  Seriously gorgeous.  I adore it.  Mostly, I picked up this novel based on its lovely jacket art, although the dual-timeline, mystery/horror-type premise also appealed.  Unfortunately, the cover might be the best thing about The House on Foster Hill.  Harsh, I know, but consider this—the novel is overwritten and melodramatic; the characters are bland, with Kaine being especially whiny and unlikable; the loosey-goosey plot doesn't even make sense in some places, and the religious overtones (this is a Christian novel, which I didn't realize at first) are overt and preachy.  So, while I like the bones of this novel, its "flesh" just didn't work for me.  The House on Foster Hill gets rave reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (part of the reason I bought it), so apparently I'm in the minority here, but I found it to be a big disappointment.  Bummer, because it sounds like something that would be right up my alley.  Oh well.  

(Readalikes:  The premise reminds me of Kate Morton's dual-timeline books about the secrets of old houses)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The House on Foster Hill from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. I agree about the cover art. Still trying to imagine a Christian horror novel. LOL

    1. Ha! That's what I said, too. Not to be spoiler-y, but the book isn't *exactly* what it seems :)

  2. Sometimes the only good thing about a novel is its cover. How sad.


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