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Book Review of The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright
You know that feeling of finishing a book and thinking about it for days afterward? Really thinking about it–the details and the characters and the story. Almost being changed by it? It’s a feeling of knowing something you didn’t know before, of seeing things differently than you previously did. This feeling is one of the reasons I love reading, and it hasn’t happened often lately. But I felt it! Oh, I felt it when I read The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright. The story wouldn’t leave my mind! I finished the book weeks ago, and I’m still thinking about it. It’s amazing!
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.
My Book Review:
Wow! I began reading this when my husband was out of town, and I was a little creeped out at first so I wouldn’t let myself read it at night. I’m not a fan of scary books or movies, so I almost put it down. Thankfully I didn’t. It was just creepy enough to scare me a little bit, but not enough for me to put down. In fact, I couldn’t put it down! The story is so compelling!!
Close your eyes and picture an old, beautiful castle hidden deep in a forest. Where does your mind immediately put the castle? Germany? England? Spain? Nope! Think Wisconsin. I’ve never been to Wisconsin, but I’m sure the forests there are beautiful. Now, picture that beautiful castle and add a sinister legend–women go there and never come back. They disappear into the forest surrounding the castle and are never seen again. Add some mystery to the castle with tales of ghosts haunting the halls and menacing residents who live lives more harrowing than the horror tales they write.
How does the castle look now? A little creepy, right? I picture fog enshrouding the castle and the grounds, eerily cold breezes rustling through the trees, and haunting moans reverberating through the forest. I’m too much of a wuss to go there! You will not be seeing me at Castle Moreau anytime soon!
That’s not the case for Daisy and Cleo, though. Both women were hired to help at the castle. Daisy in 1870 and Cleo in the present day. As both women put the legends aside and brave their way into needed jobs, they begin to find out that there is more to the castle than they know. The legends may be true. They see and hear things that they shouldn’t be seeing or hearing. Nothing makes sense. Is there something at the castle that makes you lose your mind?
Oh my gosh, this story is so good! The writing is excellent! Ms. Wright’s writing just sucks you in and doesn’t let go. Even though it’s dark and you’re alone and creeped out, you can’t stop reading!! Her descriptions of the castle and the grounds follow you wherever you go; they haunt your cleaning and carpooling and dinner cooking moments. Every moment you’re not reading, you’re wondering…
The characters are so authentic, real, and well developed. You feel their anxieties and fears, and then those things become your anxieties and fears. Somehow, even though I’m safe in my house—that’s not a castle in Wisconsin—I too am part of the mystery and legend. I love the characters in this story. I love the sweet characters, the morbid characters, the handsome characters, the creepy characters, and I love how each character is written.
As you read, you think you understand what is going on at the castle. You have theories and evidence to back it up. Then you get to the end and realize you had NO idea! At least, that was my experience. I even tried to figure this one out. Long-time readers will know that I don’t usually try to figure out the mysteries because I like the surprise ending. This one I actually thought I had figured out. Nope. And the ending was even better than I could have imagined. Not in a happily-ever-after way, but in a WOW way, if that makes sense.
Reading this book made me rethink how I view certain situations in the world. You hear things on the news and think you understand. Then you read a book like this and realize how much you don’t know of the world and other people’s situations. I seriously thought about this book for days and weeks after I finished. I explained the whole thing to my husband, in great detail (I’m sure he was thrilled—haha!) because I was so caught up in the story.
Go order this book today! Yes, today. It comes out April 4th! Then email me when you finish, and we can chat. This book would make a fabulous book group pick! Loved it, loved it, loved it. I don’t give 5 stars very often because 5 stars are reserved for my all-time favorite books like Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Christo. This book, for me at least, fits right up there! Yes, it gets an elusive 5 stars from me!! Highly recommend!!
Content Rating: PG-13+
- Profanity: None
- Intimacy: None
- Violence: Minor (Women disappearing, a few morbid, graphic details about things.)
- Heavy themes
Age Recommendation: 14+
My Rating: 5/5
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.