Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Book Review: The Vanishing at Castle Moreau, by Jaime Jo Wright

The first time I read a Jaime Jo Wright novel, I was gobsmacked.
Who knew you could write Spooky Gothic Christian Fiction,
and that it would actually be good???

Since then, I've loved and reviewed:

On The Cliffs Of Foxglove Manner

The Premonition At Withers Farm

The Souls Of Lost Lake

And this week, I finished JJW's latest creation:

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

Reviewing these books has become such a challenge! JJW is a world class storyteller, with gasp-inciting twists built into every tale. It's hard to write a review without giving it all away. (After all, like any great book, it leaves me wanting to shout its awesomeness from the rooftops!)

So, here's the book jacket blurb, plus a few thoughts of my own:

"In 1870, orphaned Daisy Fran├žois 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."

Okay first, the infamous, fictional Castle Moreau is as much a character as any human in this book. A French-inspired castle, built in love, hidden in the woods, next door to a gossipy small town - the perfect setting for grandeur and secrets!

Next, the story is beautifully structured. The mystery of the titular "vanishing" plays out in both timelines in a way that creates echos across time and oodles of tension.

The mix of characters is such a great choice! People of different social and economic backgrounds, plus various temperaments, all brought together because they each carry a connection to a decades-old mystery. 

And on a personal note: if Daisy's entrance - a red-headed orphan carrying a carpetbag - doesn't remind you of your favourite storybook heroine-with-an-E, then you're not really Canadian!

I read this book quickly, and I highly recommend doing the same!
Hide yourself away in a dark room, with a big bowl of snacks,
and savour the perfect mix of twists and tensions that is
The Vanishing of Castle Moreau. 

In addition to being a prolific novelist, Jaime Jo Wright is super active on social media, offers mentoring for writers, hosts a podcast, and sends out a great newsletter. You can learn more about her at:

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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