On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright
Ghosts. Confederate gold. Haunted houses. Secret codes. Kidnappings. This story has it all.
And honestly? I think it’s Jaime Jo Wright’s best novel yet!
On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor has all of the components of a traditional Wright story. (Check out our review of Wright’s The Haunting of Bonaventure Circus.) Its dual-timeline features two strong, female characters who are each wounded by their past and searching for their own set of answers. Individually, the two timelines are well developed with strong mysteries of their own. But they also come together beautifully! The mystery of Foxglove Manor weaves itself across the decades to create a suspenseful and haunting read.
If you like eerie, historical stories (Brontë sisters, anyone?) this is one you won’t want to miss! Be sure to keep reading for the rest of my review!
About On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor:
1885: Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life.
Present day: Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.
On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor is a ghostly tale with a creepy manor, lost treasure, and decades-old hidden codes. I’ve enjoyed all of Jaime Jo Wright’s novels but this one was by far, my favourite!
In addition to loving the way the two timelines played off each other (as mentioned above), I also love the ending for this one (no spoilers here!) because it felt realistic. The mystery weaves itself across both plots — stretching from the 1800s to the current day. And while this sometimes weakens the motivation for villains in the present-day timeline, this story managed to sustain plausibility the whole way through. This is something that I think is extremely difficult to pull off. But Jaime Jo Wright did it!
My one critique is that the first few chapters took a bit for me to get into. The writing is very beautiful. It has a very artistic, flowery feel. This captured the mood for the historical timeline and painted the setting intricately. However, at times, it felt overly descriptive. Once I settled into the feel and style of the book, however, it picked up for me.
This was also my first book set in a post-pandemic world!
There was one very brief mention of the pandemic, stuck right in the middle of the book. And I loved it. One of the characters makes a joke about being quarantined during a pandemic and the two share a little mutual laugh about their recent historical experience. Twenty years from now, readers may find this reference a little abrupt or out of place in the story. I, however, adored it. It’s the sort of subtle humor that weaved its way throughout the pages of this novel and I thought it was fun.
While this book has a definite “ghost story” theme, the novel itself still speaks to Christian faith and themes throughout. The characters have conversations about God in a way that feels natural and well placed within the story. For those who enjoy suspenseful and spooky (but clean) reads, you should definitely check out Jaime Jo Wright!
*Thanks to the author and publisher for the e-copy. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!*