THE WINGS OF POPPY PENDLETON by Melanie Dobson
GENRE: Dual Timeline Fiction/Mystery (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2023
In this compelling new time-slip mystery, a little girl goes missing from her family’s castle in the Thousand Islands of New York. Eighty-five years later, a journalist teams up with a woman living on Koster Isle to find out what happened to Poppy, once and for all.
1907. On the eve of her fifth birthday, Poppy Pendleton is tucked safely in her bed, listening to her parents entertain New York’s gilded society in their Thousand Islands castle; the next morning, she is gone, and her father is found dead in his smoking room.
1992. Though Chloe Ridell lives in the shadows of Poppy’s castle, now in ruins, she has little interest in the mystery that still captivates tourists and locals alike. She is focused on preserving the island she inherited from her grandparents and reviving their vintage candy shop. Until the day a girl named Emma shows up on Chloe’s doorstep, with few possessions, save a tattered scrapbook that connects her to the Pendleton family. When a reporter arrives at Chloe’s store, asking questions about her grandfather, Chloe decides to help him dig into a past she’d thought best left buried. The haunting truth about Poppy, they soon discover, could save Emma’s life, so Chloe and Logan must work together to investigate exactly what happened long ago on Koster Isle.
Melanie Dobson was one of the first multi-timeline authors I ever read, and she remains one of my very faves. The Wings of Poppy Pendleton immediately captivated me with its air of mystery – a missing child cold case from the Gilded Age that’s garnering new attention from a dogged reporter… and a child found under mysterious circumstances 85 years later on the same castle-inhabited New York island.
The narrative switches effortlessly between 1907 (and years following) and 1992, keeping you held in thrall by a Gilded Age castle and its layers of secrets which the author reveals bit by bit as the story progresses. We are also treated to the perspectives of different characters from each timeline, Amelia Pendleton and Chloe Ridell as well as some closely-associated people in between. I enjoyed both the alternating time periods and the varying POVs; they allowed me to fully immerse myself into this mystery and the setting, both expertly developed by the author. In fact, the island (and its castle) really becomes its own character, larger than life. It not only unites both timelines and the main characters but also contributes to the overall mood of the story and beckons you to go exploring. And there’s lots of treasure here to find, even beyond the mysteries – cherished birds, cherished boats, smuggling, Gilded Age glamour, shipwrecks, family secrets, surprising twists, intriguing history, candy stores, loyal dogs, a Fraidy kitten, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, jelly beans, and so much more!
Bottom Line: A Gilded Age-era castle stands silent over the Thousand Islands in New York, holding more than one mystery close and the fate of two little girls – 85 years apart – in its hands. Hooked yet? Then get quickly to The Wings of Poppy Pendleton and let your imagination fly! Author Melanie Dobson masterfully provides readers with an atmospheric story rich in characters and possibilities, deeply layered and poignantly tender. A hint of romance and gentle notes of faith provide needed balance and levity to some of the book’s heavier themes (which are handled discreetly with lots of grace). And I have to give a special shout-out to Logan who has some of the best lines in the book and is just an all-around good guy. Another compelling story from a queen of multi-timeline fiction!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
Melanie Dobson is the Carol Award-winning author of twenty-five historical, time-slip, and romantic suspense novels. A former publicity manager, Melanie now writes and lives with her husband Jon and their two daughters near Portland, Oregon. Visit Melanie online at melaniedobson.com for more information about her books or to sign up for her newsletter.
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