Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright {A Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

After Aggie Dunkirk's career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her rambling old home. She didn't plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene--even going so far as to re-create it in the dollhouse.

Mystery seems to follow her when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the cemetery. Forced to work with the cemetery's puzzling, yet attractive archeologist, she exhumes the past's secrets and unwittingly uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep quiet--even if it means silencing Aggie.

In 1946, Imogene Grayson works in a local factory and has eyes on owning her own beauty salon. But coming home to discover her younger sister's body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the newly burgeoning world of criminal forensics and not particularly welcomed as a woman, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister's case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . even if it costs her everything.

Jaime Jo Wright is winner of the Christy, Carol, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. Visit her at jaimewrightbooks.com.

This is the first book that I have personally had the chance to read from Jaime Jo Wright, but I can say with certainty that it absolutely will NOT be the last. I was completely captivated by this unique tale and could not stand to put it down.

Echoes Among the Stones jumps back and forth between the past and the present. In the past (post WWII 1940s to be exact), we meet Imogene. After the murder of her sister she is on a mission to figure out the truth of what happened. The present time brings us Aggie who has recently come to stay with her rather eccentric grandmother--- a grandmother obsessed with this very same murder, a murder never solved. I am not always a fan of books that jump timelines--- they truly have to be done WELL to keep my intrigued, but this one was absolutely fantastic. It was interesting to view the crime both in the freshness of the events, and then again years in the future where the knowledge of forensics has grown tremendously. It really gave us a full scope of not only the mystery of the murder, but the after effects of the grief that it brought.

Grief was such a huge part of this story and what made it so captivating. Both of the women in the story are dealing with their grief--- Imogene for her sister and Aggie for her mother who had passed away from cancer. I loved this message that while grief was necessary and not in and of itself a bad thing, it is not something that should be held onto... and we see the reasons as we read these stories.

There was a little bit of romance mixed in as well, which I personally enjoyed. And while the actual mystery was solved in the end, not everything was tied up in a pretty bow, happily ever after. That might not be what we all hope for in a book... but it's reality, and again just really went to drive home the issue of what happens when we hold onto grief too tightly.

Overall, this was a fantastic read that I would certainly recommend. There are some Christian themes, but I feel like it's not overwhelming and as such this story could appeal to Christians and non alike.


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