Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Genre: Dual-time Suspense
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
A haunting legend. An ominous curse. A search for a secret buried deep within the castle walls.
In 1870, orphaned Daisy François takes a position as housemaid at a Wisconsin castle to escape the horrors of her past life. There she finds a reclusive and eccentric Gothic authoress who hides tales more harrowing than the ones in her novels. As women disappear from the area and the eerie circumstances seem to parallel a local legend, Daisy is thrust into a web that could ultimately steal her sanity, if not her life.
In the present day, Cleo Clemmons is hired by the grandson of an American aristocratic family to help his grandmother face her hoarding in the dilapidated Castle Moreau. But when Cleo uncovers more than just the woman's stash of collectibles, a century-old mystery and the dust of the old castle's curse threaten to rise again . . . this time to leave no one alive to tell the sordid tale.
Award-winning author Jaime Jo Wright seamlessly weaves a dual-time tale of two women who must do all they can to seek the light amid the darkness shrouding Castle Moreau.
Reviewer: Amy Smelser
An old castle built in Wisconsin by a French trapper for his wife hides many secrets and collects more as time moves on. Castle Moreau had quite a gothic vibe going on, as many women have disappeared in it or around it through the years. But why? Is the castle cursed, or is it hiding something else?
This was a marvelous nail-biting, keep reading through the night with all the lights on story. I had a hard time doing anything else while this remained unfinished, and yet I wanted to savor it, not rush. This is a dual timeline, 1865 and present times. The characters in each are similar. The castle is the same, and so is the family name. A grandmother and a grandson are what is left in each. I found those similarities interesting. Both grandmothers were protecting the castle and its secrets, and the grandsons were protecting their grandmothers. Then along comes two women running from their own tragic pasts, both hired to help with the castle. That in itself was mysterious. I enjoyed the similar timelines.
There was a smaller and third timeline as well. This was told by a young girl of six, the daughter of the castle builder. And her story, wow. Let me tell you, I read the first chapter of this book, and I started late one night, got to the end of it, and quickly closed it. It was the scariest beginning chapter I have ever read. I needed to wait till daylight to continue.
This was a riveting and fun read, with mystery abounding through the years and an even more mysterious romance thread throughout. I was hooked, and I can't wait for more from the pen of Author Wright.
I was provided a copy of this novel by Bethany House Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review, and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Lauren Nel
The Vanishing at Castle Moreau had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what was behind the sinister disappearances at this mysterious castle. The book follows the perspective of three females plagued by secrets and uses Castle Moreau as a place of refuge and escape. What makes this book so special is that the reader gets a glimpse into both the present and the past and desperately tries to find a way to piece together the information given to solve the big question, “What is causing women to vanish from this sinister castle?”
I found myself invested in the lives of the characters in this book. Cleo (our present-day character) is a young woman who is running from mistakes in her past. Daisy, a young lady from the 1800s, is passionate about solving the mystery behind the castle. I also found the view of the unnamed little girl very interesting. The author made them believable by giving each character flaws and secrets they are ashamed of and showing that they were capable of growth over time.
Audiences who enjoy a book shrouded in mystery and a sprinkling of romance should try The Vanishing at Castle Moreau. This dual-time Gothic novel does approach some topics for mature audiences, such as alcoholism, physical abuse, and death. The author, Jaime Jo Wright, did a wonderful job in approaching these big topics in a very delicate manner, using the idea of redemption, and starting anew through God throughout.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Emily Stephens
The Vanishing at Castle Moreau is one of my favorite books so far this year! It has dual timelines, with Daisy in the 1860s and Cleo in the present day. Each visits the castle and is confronted by secrets and general creepiness. As a fan of the classic gothic novel, I enjoyed seeing these elements in the story, especially in the modern timeline.
Both stories were equally good, and Daisy and Cleo are well-developed and interesting characters. I enjoyed reading about both of them and seeing how they adapted to what they faced during their time at Castle Moreau.
The castle itself was practically a separate character. I appreciated the detailed descriptions the author provided. They helped me feel like I was experiencing the spooky environment right along with the characters.
When everything was resolved, I was pleased by how the threads connected and the positive messages about the power of love and forgiveness in the face of challenges.
I give this five stars!
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Beverly Laude
I used to read a lot of Gothic books when I was in High School (many years ago) but hadn't read another in a long time. This book reminded me of why I have always enjoyed this genre.
The book focuses on two timelines involving two groups of people. In 1871, Daisy Francois was an orphan hired to work at Castle Moreau. She is running from her past and hopes she will be safe there. This castle is inhabited by horror authoress Ora Moreau and her grandson, Lincoln. It is also the source of many tales involving the disappearance of young women in the area.
In the present day, Cleo Carpenter is also running from her past. She has been hired to clean out the accumulated hoardings of the current resident, Virgie Moreau-Tremblay. She is also drawn into the disappearance of a young woman named Anne Jenkins, who has been missing for 40 years. The townspeople all claim that numerous young women have disappeared in the area of the Castle for decades and lay the blame there.
These two timelines parallel each other in many ways, with both young women trying to escape the horrors of their pasts. There are also budding romances between these women and the grandsons of the Castle.
Deacon Tremblay is a celebrity heartthrob but loves his Grand-mere dearly and will do anything to protect her from the public's prying eyes. Cleo and Deacon soon learn that something is going on in the Castle. Between the strange noises and sights, a gruesome discovery in the walls, and Virgie's tenuous hold on sanity, it seems unlikely that publicity can be avoided.
"Beauty is found in walls of stone, beauty where love begins." This book is full of tense moments in true gothic fashion, with ghostly sounds and sights sprinkled throughout both timelines. Shades of Edgar Allen Poe and "Jane Eyre" are found, and the need to know the truth kept me reading long into the night.
The book has hope, forgiveness, compassion, and a little romance with a backdrop of faith in God that can bring about those things. The author has done a great job blending the timelines to make the book easy to read. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the Gothic genre and look forward to reading more of Ms. Wright's books.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
Jaime Jo Wright is the queen of dark stories laced with hope. Her writing gives you enough shivers, angst, and twisty suspense to keep you up all night. If you dare. Yet each book has a redemptive factor that takes you in a direction you never anticipate. This is what makes her stand above the crowd.
The Vanishing At Castle Moreau grabbed me right from the start, and I was hooked. Within the castle itself, the lives of three women in three timelines with choices to make are entwined. It is written in a way that gives it a life of its own. The girl alone with her nightmares, Daisy trapped by her circumstances and surrounded by secrets, and Cleo hiding at the castle with secrets of her own.
Questions abound as you read through the book. Who is the woman with the crooked hand? Are the rumors about the castle true? Will Daisy and Cleo be consumed by the secrets or freed by the truth? And for those romantics out there, will they connect with the handsome, brooding men who are part of the Moreau legacy?
Each character in the book is unique in their own way, even the side characters adding color and depth to the overall story. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
I was given a copy of this book through NetGalley courtesy of Bethany House Publishers. This is my honest opinion of the book.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"Beauty exists where love begins."
Jaime Jo Wright's beautiful craftsmanship never fails to amaze me. Her magical touch seamlessly weaves threads of Gothic suspense with faith and just the right amount of romance to create a stunning tapestry of redemption and belonging. Fear and grief play big roles in the plot, but truth, kindness, steadfast love, purpose, and faith overcome the hopelessness that lingers in fear and regret. The dual timeline alternating between 1870 and the present time, with interjections from 1801, is cleverly and masterfully stitched together without any gaps or confusion.
Cleo and Deacon from the present time are such a delightful match. Though they come from very different backgrounds, they share grief, addictions, regrets, loyalty, and faith. Daisy and Lincoln mirrored their present-time counterparts in 1870 - they are the forgotten ones, deemed useless by society yet so capable of love and longing for acceptance and purpose. And then there is the grandmother who writes horror fiction, the grandmother who hoards everything, the wandering phantom woman, battles against grief and alcohol, and human depravity that add deep layers to the characters and plot.
It's a Jaime Jo Wright book you don't want to miss.
I received the book from Bethany House via Interviews and Reviews. I was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
What can I say about the Vanishing at Castle Moreau that would do it justice? I believe this is Jaime Jo Wright's best work yet!
Told in three periods, we meet a young girl who has just lost her mother. At night she is haunted by a hooded figure with a crooked hand, who tells her things no child should hear. At another time, we meet Daisy, an orphan who takes a position at the castle as a housemaid. She has heard the horror stories of the gothic castle but feels she has no alternative but to stay, even when some of those stories seem to be coming true.
And lastly, we meet Cleo. She has a secret we don't discover until later in the book. She is hired to help restore order to the castle after its lone occupant (Virgie) has become a hoarder. But as she begins to go through Virgie's things, the victims of the past seem to be reaching from beyond the grave for answers to their disappearances. And someone is keen to make sure she figures them out.
While the book concentrates mainly on Daisy and Cleo's stories, the thread that weaves them all together begins with the young child at the beginning of the story. Making this book hard to put down.
Wright masterfully sets her characters, plot twists and secrets in a brilliant story that transports you inside a gothic castle with so many mysteries that I long to see this book turned into a movie.
I loved everything about it! And the twist at the end was something I never saw coming. Kudos to the author. This one is a keeper!
I received a copy courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest review.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“… the dust of the old castle’s curse threatens to rise again, this time leaving no one alive to tell its sordid tale,” the back jacket states in Jaime Jo Wright’s novel, The Vanishing at Castle Moreau.
This three-hundred-and-eighty-four-page advance reader copy targets those interested in Christian mystery and suspense involving an old castle and disappearing women. With slang words such as darn and heck, topics of alcoholism, mental and physical abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an author’s note, ten discussion questions, acknowledgments, the author’s biography, and advertisements.
In this tale that is spread over one-hundred-and-fifty years, three women are involved in an old Wisconsin castle. There is Daisy, an orphan with nowhere else to go, so she becomes a housekeeper for a Gothic authoress who seems eviler than the stories she writes. And decades later, there is Cleo, who drastically wants to hide her identity, so she agrees to help a wealthy aging hoarder at the same abode. And intertwined is a girl who grows up only wanting to protect the skeletons of her past.
I love fiction that jumps around in time and links the past with the present, especially if it involves the history of an old castle. The descriptions of the fear and angst some of the characters go through are well-written and believable. I appreciate that God was called upon and trusted when needed.
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like this story of how God provides protection, even when things appear differently than expected. Some may not like the lag between chapters as it is hard to remember the story as it jumps years. I would have marked the read lower due to the references to a phantom woman and spirit beings, but the ending redeems itself.
It would have been thoughtful to include the eternal plan of salvation. Since I only read Christian fiction, I prefer no slang words.
If you like a mystery of an eerie old house that hides secrets within its walls as women go missing, this one will make you wonder what is real and what is not as you learn the truth about protecting others.
Thanks to Bethany House and Interviews & Reviews for this complimentary book. I am under no obligation to give a positive review.
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