The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Written by Jaime Jo Wright
Review by J. Lynn Else

Two women separated by 100 years are bound together by their small town’s buried secrets. Gossamer Grove, Wisconsin, in 1907 is shaken up by tent evangelists. In the midst of the religious controversy, Libby, working with her father at the local newspaper, receives an obituary for Deacon Greenwood—a man still alive. Shaken, Libby rushes to the Greenwood home only to discover the deacon’s now lifeless body. In the present day, Annalise Forsythe is shaken to discover her high school boyfriend, Garrett Greenwood, has returned to Gossamer Grove. More alarming, a recluse who’s found dead in his trailer has plastered images of Annalise throughout his home, including photos of Annalise that reveal a painful secret she’s worked years to forget. This recluse has also been researching Gossamer Grove’s past and the mysterious murder of Deacon Greenwood. So what does a 100-year-old murder have to do with Annalise?

Both stories balance on choice and consequence and their weight on a person’s soul. Wright does a fascinating job of slowly unveiling the painful choices both women must come to accept. There’s also a strong plot thread about faith and forgiveness, which the characters wrestle with. These powerful themes enhance the mysteries surrounding Gossamer Grove’s past. The movements between time periods are perfectly done to heighten the intrigue of each unraveling mystery. Along with engaging characters and a meticulously-realized 1907 time period, I found myself completely engrossed in the narrative. A complex story with sympathetic characters and many surprises. Recommended!