Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Genre: Dual-Time Mystery
Release Date: October 10, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
It promises beauty but steals life instead. Will the ghosts of Barlowe Theater entomb them all?
Barlowe Theater stole the life of Greta Mercy's eldest brother during its construction. Now in 1915, the completed theater appears every bit as deadly. When Greta's younger brother goes missing after breaking into the building, Greta engages the assistance of a local police officer to help her unveil the already ghostly secrets of the theater. But when help comes from an unlikely source, Greta decides that to save her family she must uncover the evil that haunts the theater and put its threat to rest.
Decades later, Kit Boyd's best friend vanishes during a ghost walk at the Barlowe Theater, and old stories of mysterious disappearances and ghoulish happenings are revived. Then television ghost-hunting host and skeptic Evan Fisher joins Kit in the quest to identify the truth behind the theater's history. Kit reluctantly agrees to work with him in hopes of finding her missing friend. As the theater's curse unravels Kit's life, she is determined to put an end to the evil that has marked the theater and their hometown for the last century.
Reviewer: Raechel Helwig
I find myself slightly behind on my Jaime Jo Wright books, so it was quite pleasant to jump back into them with The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater! Both the storylines in this dual-time novel were set during the month of October, which is the time I read it, and I thought that added a sort of "atmospheric" fun to the experience.
Wright definitely has a way of pulling the reader into the story and becoming engrossed in both timelines, even when jumping back and forth. I don't usually read a lot of split-timeline novels for the reason that I have a bit of difficulty jumping back and forth, but somehow I don't have that problem with her books.
I also don't read a lot of scary, suspenseful stories, but once again, I make an exception for Wright's books! They always manage to thrill and entertain me and scare me just a little bit, but not too much, if you know what I mean.
The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater contains so much material that I am, truth be told, at a loss for words to adequately review it. There were a lot of important aspects and lots of intrigue, and I didn't want to miss out on any of them. But at the same time, wow! Reading it was an experience.
I loved both the heroines in this novel—Kit Boyd of the present day and Greta Mercy of 1915. They were very detailed characters, with real flaws and depths. They both faced a level of fear of abandonment, and while it was a tough topic, it was written well, and I found some of their fears relatable.
The mystery intertwined in both of their stories was engaging, and I was impressed how it didn't unwind until the exact right moment. There is a subtle theme of romance in both storylines, but it is very soft and more of a "hinting towards more" thing at the end, which again was written really well, and I enjoyed that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good romance that is throughout the novel, but I also love a good story with romance being a more background theme, and that was accomplished superbly.
The only thing that I am undecided on is how it almost seemed at times that Kit's parents were viewed as "silly" for being extra careful about the spiritual side of things. It wasn't blatantly put that way, but there were a few areas where that impression was fairly strongly given, and to be honest, I think their stance held merit.
This book contained several viewpoints on spiritual and ghost matters, and I will say I found that interesting and added to the story. Overall, I did enjoy my time spent reading, and it served as a reminder of why I really need to catch up on the few Wright books I've missed.
This book was provided courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Deanne Patterson
What I love about this author's books is how atmospheric they are. In this dual timeline, you will feel like you are experiencing everything right there with the characters.
This is a fast-moving plot that will have you looking behind yourself as you're reading. What was neat was that the historical part of the book is loosely based on a theater where the author lives. I love stories based on facts.
Barlowe Theater is where Greta's oldest brother perished during its construction. Will she have to concede to another brother lost to her when he goes missing in the theater after breaking in with a few other boys?
Rumors of underground tunnels in the basement sound like the perfect place for the police to look for the boys. When they can't find anything, theater owner Mr. Barlowe refuses to let Greta search.
I enjoyed reading about the opulence of the theater in its prime. With its velvet seat covers and drapes, vast size, and box seating for the rich, it sounds like a magnificent place to see a show.
During a ghost walk at Barlowe Theater, which social media influencer Madison hopes will boost ratings, she and a ghost-hunting host, along with Madison's best friend Kit, decide to tour the theater and see if they can find evidence of the ghostly rumors that have been around for a long time. When Madison seemingly vanishes before their eyes at the theater, Kit becomes wrapped up in finding her best friend.
Logic seems to have gone out the window as searching the theater seems to bring no new clues, but things are getting creepier all the time with rumors swirling about ghosts and other eerie things in the theater.
Yes, the same theater where the boys went missing a century before. There is something or someone trying to keep them from searching and finding answers. Eerie, fast-paced, and no one is quite who they seem to be.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Amy Smelser
Well, oh boy! This is the kind of story that you really need to clear your whole schedule for. It is not a short book either, but the level of intensity, creepiness, and just needing to know what happened is very high. This just might be my favorite Wright book yet.
This is a dual-time story, with one timeline taking place in 1915 and the other in the present day. Greta Mercy, from 1915, is poor and has sole responsibility for her four younger brothers after her parents’ deaths and the untimely death of her older brother. She is essentially alone in the world. She has siblings and a couple of good friends, Oscar and Elizabeth, but they are from the right side of town and have money.
The greatest fault Greta has, I think, is not trusting them more. They loved her and her family. Greta knows this, but that pesky pride gets in the way. From the start, things go from bad to worse for Greta, and her freedom and possibly her survival depend on finding the truth and her missing brother. This dangerous search amps up throughout the whole novel. The town and the theater are hiding some sinister secrets.
Present-day Kit has it a little better—same town and theater, though. However, her story also starts with an unbelievable reality. While on a ghost-hunting show in the Barlowe Theater, her best friend disappears, it seems, into thin air. No amount of searching gives any kind of clue about her whereabouts. Her family doesn’t know where she is, and the detectives working on the case are having a hard time piecing things together. Then someone begins to target Kit for reasons she cannot even fathom. Throw in Kit’s abandonment issues and a hunky guy that really gets on her nerves, and you have a story that is quite literally hard to put down.
If you are looking for a creepy October read with twists and turns and ghostly figures, yet ending with hope’s message, pick this one up.
I was provided a copy of this novel by Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review, and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Emily Stephens
The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater is one of my favorite books so far this year! It's a mysterious, sometimes spooky, sometimes beautiful dual-timeline story that captivated me from start to finish.
The past timeline story is set in 1915, and follows Greta and Oscar as they get to know each other, fall in love, and try to solve the mysteries of the title theater. The present day storyline follows Kit and Evan, as they also get to know each other, fall in love, and look into the theater mysteries. Both storylines were fascinating in their own rights, and I especially liked how events from the past timeline played into what the modern-day characters were facing.
The author ties these threads together perfectly, and I loved the way everything came together and made sense in the end. Before I got to the end, I loved all the twists and spooky happenings.
I also appreciated the way faith came into the story. I liked the redemption arcs (especially Kit's) and how faith played into that.
As Halloween approaches, I was thrilled to find such a spooky book that also maintained a Christian perspective.
Definitely 5 stars!
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
I've really enjoyed this story! I lost sleep because I couldn't wait to see what happened next!
Wright is just so fantabulous at what she does. I love her writing style. She can manage to creep you out, no matter what story she happens to write. And of course I read this at night, so you can imagine it made me shiver.
My favorite part of the story was Greta's. She's an amazing woman trying to keep her family together. I found myself feeling sorry for the boys and yet hoping for a good outcome for them.
Kit's story was interesting as well. I loved the mystery part of her story. Will the two timelines tie together or not? Y'all just have to read this story to find out!
I think this will be my third favorite book by her because I love anything written about the theater. Especially haunted ones! The cover of this book is simply gorgeous. Every time I look at the cover, it draws me in, and I feel like I'm there watching whatever show is being performed. I can't wait for her next book!
Five stars, of course, for this amazing adventure, and I enjoyed being back in the theater again.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
It is another eerie, secret-filled, masterfully written dual-time novel from Jaime Jo Wright. The two timelines are seamlessly melded together, yet the main characters, as well as the secondary ones, in each timeline are uniquely memorable.
In this story, we are transported to Kipper's Grove, WI, in 1915, when the recently built Barlowe Theater in town threatens all that Greta has left. In present-day Kipper's Grove, Kit is emotionally and physically haunted by her best friend's disappearance, sabotage at the workplace, and menacing bodily threats. How the disappearance of Greta's brother and Kit's circumstances tie together is absolutely mind-blowing. Twists and turns and surprises along the way will have you hanging on for an adventure you won't forget.
Greta was quite lovable with her fiercely loyal and determined spirit, despite having suffered from tragedy and the sting of poverty. Oscar and Eleanor were great side kicks as Greta went searching for her brother.
Kit, adopted as an infant, had her own battle with abandonment to face, in addition to battling confusing and heartbreaking incidents. Evan was a logical, level-headed person to lean on, and I really enjoyed watching their friendship bloom.
With an intricate plot, well-developed characters, and wonderful reminders about faith, The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater will thoroughly captivate you as only a Jaime Jo Wright book can.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House via Interviews and Reviews and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright is an exciting, dual-time mystery filled with Wright's penchant for creepiness. I guarantee you will not be able to put this book down!
Our two main characters are Greta and Kit. Greta Mercy has lost her parents, her oldest brother, and now another brother, Leo, to Barlowe Theater. She risks everything to find him and the other boys who went missing inside the theater. In the future, Kit Boyd's friend Madison goes missing in the same theater during a ghost walk. With the legend of the lost boys ever present in her mind, Kit is determined to find Madison and put the haunted stories to rest.
I loved how the author merged these two stories from different eras together. As Kit uncovers more information about the lost boys in her time, Greta begins her search for her brother Leo and the other boys with him when they go missing. Each era has its own dangers and dangerous people, making this book hard to put down. I honestly didn't know who to trust!
If you love mysteries and ghost stories, you will love The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater. I highly recommend it!
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest review.
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