The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb | Book Review
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After the loss of a family member, overwhelming grief causes Brynn to question her path in life. Her job no longer holds the joy it once did, and the stress to her relationships has caused fractures. She sets her sights on Wharton, a town nestled on Lake Superior and home to a close friend. Disconnecting from the world outside she begins anew, discovering comfort in the presence of strangers and their tales of love and loss. But nightmares begin to plague Brynn’s sleep and a voice calls out to her in the night. It’s no surprise the old boarding house she’s staying in may be haunted. But when another lodger begins to talk to Brynn about her past, stories she’s never shared with anyone in town, a chill runs down her spine as she realizes something else is going on. Something that will open her eyes to past events and their true meaning.
At its core, The Haunting of Brynn Wilder is a story of life after grief and learning how to love again. Brynn’s grief is portrayed in quiet ways, building into a slow heartache as readers unravel what has happened to bring her to this point in her life. There are many relationships seen throughout this story, and the common theme is finding love in unexpected places. Though it seemed there were a bit too many moments of finding true love. But I enjoyed Brynn’s slow emergence as a more confident woman who has come to terms with her loss.
The gothic elements of this book were not easily found. There was an air of mystery surrounding Brynn and a vague sense of a haunting. The nightmares Brynn begins to experience are tame, more so geared towards building up the mystery rather than suspense. And the supernatural elements seem to drift in and out of focus, never staying long enough to create an atmosphere of fear or dread. About halfway through the book I figured out the mystery and was eager to see how it all came together at the end. But it felt anti-climactic when I reached that point.
The Haunting of Brynn Wilder feels more like a romance novel vs a gothic novel. Experiencing life in Wharton and the slice of life that comes with Summer romance is a central focus. It was well written and detailed, vividly painting the town of Wharton and the island. And l earning about the various tales of Brynn’s counterparts in town was fun, but not quite what I expected when picking this novel. Though the romance elements are light and tame, the story still promotes a sense of finding the one and having the male character become a hero the female lead falls for.
I do recommend this for readers who enjoy relationship based fiction and summer romances. This is not a particularly light read as it captures the essence of grief, but it does read fairly quickly and easily.
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