Two years after the suspicious death of her husband, Kaine Prescott is still mired in grief and guilt. She is also wrestling with fear over strange occurrences which continue to happen to her. So, Kaine purchases an old house in her ancestral home town of Wisconsin and flees her life in San Diego. She intends to renovate the house as a way to honor her husband and start her life over. But, the house is in worse condition than she realized. And the same strange occurrences follow her to the house in Wisconsin. As they continue to escalate, Kaine decides to dig into the decades old mysteries which surround the property.
A century earlier, Kaine’s ancestor Ivy Thorpe is also caught up in mysterious events surrounding the abandoned Foster house, when a young girl is found dead on the property. Like Kaine, Ivy too seeks answers as a way of distracting her from the grief of a dead brother and the abandonment of a close friend. But Ivy’s single-minded commitment to discovering the girl’s identity, puts her at odds with the recently returned Joel Cunningham. It also puts her in danger as the killer is still loose and willing to silence Ivy for good.
Because The House on Foster HIll is a debut novel I read it based on the fabulous reviews it received. Although I enjoy time-slip stories, I don’t generally read a lot in the suspense genre. And wow, I’ve rarely read such a strong fictional debut. From page one, I was totally hooked.
This book is full of tension, drama, suspense and an almost tangible atmosphere. With the Foster House acting almost like a third character in the book, this is definitely what I would classify as a Gothic novel. Thanks to my early years of reading Victoria Holt and Laura Black, I happen to love gothic novels, So, I’m thrilled to find a new author who has the talent to write this type of story so well.
I found both Kaine and Ivy to be complex, well-written heroines. Although, Ivy’s angry persistence and inability to forgive made her difficult for me to like. The mysteries surrounding both women’s backgrounds kept me engrossed almost as much as the mysteries they were trying to solve. I literally could not put this book down, because I was dying to know what would happen next and what would be revealed about their characters. I will admit to being completely surprised by the ultimate reveal of the evil that made Foster House such a creepy mystery.
Though, there is a bit of romance woven into both Ivy and Kaine’s story lines, it is not the focus. But both Joel Cunningham and Grant Jesse are quiet, steadfast heroes that any woman can appreciate, even if it takes Ivy and Kaine longer to do so.
The House on Foster Hill is a bit darker that most stories I read, so if you are easily upset by violence and evil, then you may want to read this book with caution. It’s not only the story which goes dark, but how it almost comes alive as you read. However, the author always keeps a small thread of light woven into the darkness, so there is a bit of hope to hang onto.
As for me, I will be putting author Jaime Jo Wright on my auto buy list and eagerly anticipating her next book.