The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb

Did you know that once a month, Amazon offers one of 8-10 ebooks for Free if you have Amazon Prime? If you don’t have Prime, the cost is just $1.99 each. For more information on this program, click here. This month, Amazon offered two books for free and one that I chose was called Gothic Fiction, The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb. A friend had mentioned how much she enjoyed her writing, so I decided to take a chance.

I knew I would probably like this story just for the setting alone: in upper Minnesota, along the shores of Lake Superior. The town, Wharton, sounds just like Door County, Wisconsin, which is just north of Green Bay where I live. (Door County is the “thumb” of Wisconsin, a peninsula bordered by the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan). Quaint little town where everyone knows everybody else and everyone’s business, but in a friendly, not gossipy or backstabbing way. Then summer comes, and the place is overrun with tourists. (I especially enjoyed the detailed explanation of a fish boil, which sounds gross until it is explained, for Door County has them in abundance, too). And the frequent mention of Lake Superior as Gitche Gumee, which I first heard in a Neil Diamond song.

I don’t normally read Gothic Fiction, so I don’t know if it’s usual or not, but The Haunting of Brynn Wilder seemed kind of light on the “gothic” part. There were paranormal happenings, strange dreams connecting the afterworld with the present, past and future, but it didn’t seem to be the main focus of the story.

Surprisingly, the main focus seemed to be romance between Brynn, who has had a rough year with the loss of her mother to cancer and the dissolution of a 20-year partnership, and Dominic, the extremely handsome, extremely buff, extremely tattooed man staying at the same inn as Brynn. They get involved with each other quite quickly, which was a surprise because I wasn’t expecting romance in the novel, but to be fair, the romance wasn’t the central theme of the story. The ghostly happenings, the romance, and the lives of the other people Brynn meets make up the story.

There’s a woman with Alzheimer’s named Alice, who seems to know a lot about Brynn and her past, and future. While her brain becomes more confused as the disease progresses, she becomes more connected with Brynn and Dominic.

The townspeople are mostly interesting characters who add to the story and life of the setting. Of course, there’s a bookstore owner, and Brynn makes friends with her, stopping by the store to buy a copy of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. There’s quite a discussion about it, and it makes me want to get a copy and read the book myself.

The Haunting of Brynn Wilder was a quick and easy October read that was exactly what I was looking for. And even though I figured out the ending of the book early on in the story, I still enjoyed the journey and the picture painted of life in Wharton to get there. I’ll most definitely be checking out more of Wendy Webb’s work.

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