Book Review: When the Reckoning Comes

08.03.2021 | Harper Perennial
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


More than a decade ago, Mira fled her small, segregated hometown in the south to forget. She’s distanced herself from everything in her past: from her best friend Celine, mocked by their town as the only white girl with black friends; from her old neighborhood; from the eerie Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves; from the terrifying memory of a ghost she saw that terrible day when a dare gone wrong almost got Jesse – the boy she secretly loved – arrested for murder. Now Mira is back for Celine’s wedding at the plantation that haunts her past. Beneath its new lush vacation resort vibe lies the oppressive racist history it stands for despite the town trying to erase the truth. As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Jesse, and Celine are forced to acknowledge their history together, and to save themselves from what is to come. 

WHEN THE RECKONING COMES is a modern take on the much loved Southern Gothic horror subgenre that combines past and present realities to form a stunning and unsettling novel. Within the pages of this story the reader follows Mira on an almost mind-bending journey back to her hometown in North Carolina. The story is filled with ghosts seeking revenge for past wrongs that happened on the plantation where Mira finds herself attending a wedding. More disturbing than the ghosts at times are the living, breathing people attending the wedding and their outward hatred towards anyone who isn’t white. Their careless attitude about what has happened on the very ground they’re standing on and the celebration of all things antebellum plays a part in why the ghosts have chosen now to reappear and seek their revenge. McQueen has created a story that genuinely creeped me out, but also left me wanting more. 

🎧: I picked this one up as an audiobook and fell absolutely in love with the narration. Kara Young instantly connected me to Mira and her story. If you’re like me and this one has been sitting on your shelf for too long, I highly recommend giving the audio a go! 

50 States of Horror Challenge: North Carolina

This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

A huge thank you to Harper Perennial for my gifted copy!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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