Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.
A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother--who is battling dementia--compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns--and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.
As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?
Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history's secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!
This book. . . Wow. I just want to insert here that if you are so inclined to listen to music while you read, I would highly recommend pairing this book with a moody cup of black tea or bitter coffee and the album, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat’. #mood. I will try to make my thoughts somewhat cohesive, but this book for me was more about how it made me feel than anything else. There is a grit to it, the way the feelings are almost a tangible thing that you can touch. It was almost as if I could feel the emotions coiling around my fingers if I just reached out my hand to touch them. The gothic, dark, broody, shivers-down-your-spine vibes were not a dark presence that was undesirable, but they were just a soft, ethereal feeling that gave the book an essence of the inspired. This is my first experience reading a book by Jamie Jo Wright, and after this one tiny taste, she forever has my admiration. Her words are purposeful, carefully chosen gems from a creek bed full of stones. It was as if she chose each one, examined it thoroughly and polished it to perfection before she set it into her sentences. Every sentence left me with a feeling of understanding and a connection with the characters that I haven’t experienced for quite some time while reading. The stunning settings, moods, and surroundings of each storyline captured my attention and of course, this history buff loved the historical timeline. The high stakes of the story also made this book unforgettable in so many ways. There was never a moment that I felt like “meh, I don’t want to finish this”. It was stunning beauty from beginning to end. Another thing about this book that is going to be hard for me to explain, but is there all the same and probably a very strong reason for the definite attachment to the story and characters. . . Was the emotions, motivation, and storyline of the characters. Heidi herself and the family issues that she deals with was very real to me in so many ways that I sometimes had goosebumps and very real feelings and emotions attached to them. From the sympathy and compassion I felt towards Heidi, the anger towards others who treated her a certain way, and a melancholic sadness over the way her life was formed and the difficult relationships that made up her family had me feeling near tears so many times. And let’s not forget the very real and strong storyline of mental illness that threaded through this book like a gold thread, sometimes bright, other times subtle, but always there to color the story and make it for what it is. A spectacular, emotionful and heartbreakingly compassionate view of the struggle of our society. She handled the perceptions, realities, and reality of mental illness in such a beautiful way that all I could do was applaud with a feeling of awe and appreciation for a job well done. In short, this is a stunning piece that any would do well to read. It is something that will stick with you and a book that I feel blessed to own and will treasure on my shelf.
“That while the past- the consequences of the past – might have a dire effect on me, it still doesn’t change who I am. We weren’t created to find our identity in life. We were created to discover our Creator. In doing so, our identity is defined.” ~ Simeon Coyle, The Curse of Misty Wayfair. And for those who were curious, this “ghost story” had no real “ghost”. Just so you know.
Two tales twist together into a story that draws the reader in and won’t let go. The Curse of Misty Wayfair is deliciously thrilling, with a resolution steeped in light and hope. Jaime Jo Wright wraps her writing in a genuine love for people--in all their gifts and challenges--and for the truth that sets them free.
Guys, no review that I write can bring justice to how masterful and engaging The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright really is! Seriously, read this one!
Perhaps the thing I love the most about Jaime Jo Wright's romantic suspense stories is that they really break the mold of romantic suspense in Christian Fiction. They are truly unique! The romance is subtle, but it is believable, ending in a way that you know that Happily Ever After will happen after that last page. The suspense is filled with intrigue, murder, and yes, some creepiness. But that creepiness never, EVER overcomes the light! The mystery is so skillfully crafted, that all I can do is read, read, read until that conclusion where it all clicks into place. The Curse of Misty Wayfair more than lives up to the author's excellent abilities! Just...WOW!!!
Anxiety disorders, mental illness, and special needs are one of the main focuses of the story. These subjects are very near and personal to me, so I greatly appreciated the author's sensitivity and overflowing love in regards to these subjects. While my heart ached to read about some of the horrific pain and difficulties that I know all too well, God's tender love proved to be the spotlight, pushing aside the heartache.
The Curse of Misty Wayfair is one of those books where I think I read it at the exact time I needed to read it, and I have a feeling a lot of other readers will feel the same way. Thea and Heidi's search for their identities and heritage is shrouded in mayhem. However, their discovery that other people, consequences of the past, or the things that life defines as normal doesn't define their identities, but that their identities are defined by the discovery of our Creator. This message will speak to your soul!
Five Stars ~ The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright is a thrilling story that will have you gasping for breath until the last page! The Curse of Misty Wayfair is the author's third book, but it is a standalone, not a series.
Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.
I found The Curse of Misty Wayfair to be spooky and deliciously disturbing! That may seem like a strange thing to say, yet it describes the way I felt compelled to uncover the mysteries of both storylines with each page turn, while also having to limit my reading to the daylight hours to keep from getting completely creeped out!
Knowing that this story was Christian fiction, I was aware that there must be some explanation behind the ghostly sightings, but the author kept me guessing as to what exactly was happening in both the present and past timelines.
Both storylines were fascinating to me, with the one in the past particularly so as it dealt with post-mortem photography, superstitions that seemed to be held throughout the entire town, and the local insane asylum. In both storylines, the heroines struggled with truth versus myth, acceptance, and feeling unloved. And Thea, from the storyline set in the past, struggled with her beliefs regarding superstition versus God. This was a very interesting novel!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Let me start off by saying, this book had me REELING! Jaime can write a story!! 😍😍
I am one of those people who can spot the bad guy from a mile away. Movies or books, you name it, I instantly feel a little "off" when they make an appearance. It always baffles my mind when an author can pull the wool over my eyes and surprise me at the end! Jamie Jo Wright is one of the only authors who has that ability.
The last hundred pages or so had my mind racing at rapid speeds trying to figure everything out. I definitely had some assumptions (that ended up being correct), but I was completely off the mark considering the WHOLE picture! And I LOVED it.
I was IN BOTH of the timelines. I felt like I was living both of their stories! It was such a vivid story, every detail popped off the page. The author's writing style is beautiful, thick and dark. This lends a small "creep factor" into her books.
There are some people who didn't think this was a "night-time read", but I personally preferred to read it at night to get the full Jaime Jo Wright affect.
I loved this storyline! It was a twisted, mind spinning tale that lasted well over a century. A "curse" that became a town's identity and in the process helped two women find their's.
Both women in this story were fighting so hard to find themselves, their identity. Though they both started off by trying to solve the legend, in the end they found that GOD is the only way to truly be complete...and in God their identity was found.
I loved every character in this book! Each one had a specific reason for being the way they were, and it worked. (Even the bad guys)
This book dealt with mental illnesses and autism. Yet instead of making them feel less-than, this book shined a bright spotlight, showing the world they are PEOPLE, the same as you and me. As someone who has a disabled brother and cousin, and deals closely with people who have autism and anxiety, reading books talking about theses subjects makes me happy!
This book was definitely a dark and foreboding story, yet it was riddled with so much hope and love! It is such a great message to all those who are hurting, lost or have ever felt less-than. It was a 4/5 stars for me.
"Never forget that you are beautifully and wonderfully made. That is your identity. Search no further." -Jaime Jo Wright
*I received this book from the author/publisher**All opinions are my own*
4.5 stars Wow, such an enthralling story! Lots of crazy shadows in this one, and freaky, inexplicable happenings. Can a place really be haunted? Do ghosts really walk in the mists of midnight?
Both eras flow together well in this story as two different heroines, past and present, try to find out what secret holds the town in bondage and as they face different questions about their heritage and parents. Both Thea and Heidi discover strange things about the local mental asylum and have terrifying encounters with the legendary Misty Wayfair, leading them to search for answers: surely ghosts and curses aren’t in the realm of reality, right? The evidence definitely seems to suggest so. What’s the truth? And who is desperate to cover it up?
This is not a book to read if you’re wanting to sleep at night. It’s not the book to read if you’re afraid of the dark or if you are home alone. It’s the perfect book to snuggle up with under a warm blanket on a rainy day. I dare you to set it down when you’ve once picked it up!
Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.
The Curse of Misty Wayfair is a shoo-in for my Top Ten in 2019 already! Wright wove just the right amount of creep factor in this ‘ghostly’ tale of lies, loves, and the living to keep me glued to the pages. My heart rate stayed elevated pretty much the whole time. Reluctantly, I admit to a bit of anxiety as I read along because the intrigue is of mountainous proportions but I simply couldn’t put the book down.
It has taken me over a week to process my thoughts about the story and the most revelatory conclusion I came to (not sure if anyone else has or will) is that the course of a family’s future can be dramatically changed from one seemingly innocuous lie. But then no lie is really innocuous, is it?
I marked some great passages for quotes and this is one that really struck me as true.
“That while the past—the consequences of the past—might have a dire effect on me, it still doesn’t change who I am. We weren’t created to find our identity in life. We were created to discover our Creator. In doing so, our identity is defined.” ~Simeon Coyle, The Curse of Misty Wayfair
Jaime Jo Wright continues to wow the literary world with her astonishingly enigmatic time-slip stories. She is a virtuoso at composing suspense resonating with hope and healing that can only come from the One who is the original Master Writer.
I received a copy from the publisher. No review was required. No compensation was received.
Good bones, and I liked Heidi, and the other characters were good but very simple. The book had slow pacing, and was very atmospheric rather than outright suspenseful. The story felt a little unfocused with too much too say, although the vibes were fun to soak in. I have really enjoyed other books by Jaime Jo Wright, but I wasn’t drawn in by this one.
I think this is my favorite Jaime Jo Wright book so far. I have seen picture taken of the dead in the early 1900's and thought them fascinating. Without explanation it is sometimes hard to tell which was the dead. Add pictures of the dead and an insane asylum, and you have a great "ghost" story in the works.
This duel timeline story of Thea Reed, a photographer of the dead in the early 1900's, and Heidi Lane a girl who really doesn't know where she belongs in present day. But their connection of wanting to belong, to be loved, to have someone care for them is what they have in common. Little do they know they have had it all along, they just have to have a little guidance to see.
Misty Wayfair died in 1851, but her ghost still haunts the Coyle family 50 some years later. But what is Misty's story and why does she want to haunt a family for so long? With the help of Simeon Coyle, Thea Reed finally digs into the mystery of Misty Wayfair and how she is connected, and how she can finally bring these rumors to rest.
Heidi Lane has been summoned to Pleasant Valley by her mother. But after some mysterious sightings of a lady who looks just like her, how is she connected to the Coyles and Misty Wayfair. And why are the hauntings still happening after 100 years.
It is with the help of Simeon Coyle, and Rhett Crawford, that Thea and Heidi really start to see who they are and what they have been wanting all their lives - acceptance, love, and family.
This is a great book, even I got a little spooked a time or two, and love how both timelines reflect each other in her books. I recommend to others who like a little mystery, a "ghost" to show the way, and happiness in the end.
Not quite the creepy vibes I was hoping for, but still very good. I always love how the timelines connect and the twists that are often at the end. I couldn't stand Rhett though. He was so rude and unfriendly from the get-go and he never got any more likeable either.
This felt a little confusing to me. I’m not sure where to connect the dots there at the end when there’s so many new characters being introduced and somehow they’re all related! I love reading about Rhett and Heidi. Their story was sweet and there were some rugged touches I loved. I just wish there weren’t so many characters to keep track of and how they all come together. If not for that this would have been a five star. Also, I have a hard time reading about mental health. Especially during those times.
I’m just going to start this review by saying I cannot do this book justice. Secondly, in discussing this book, I want to assure you this may be a spooky story, but it is not a ghost story.
This is a brilliant read...Thea,Emma, and Heidi are my favorite characters. The characters really drive the story...which is a deep one. The author writes a spectacular novel to bring forth several wonderful Biblical truths. It’s one of those novels that I don’t think one read fully gives you everything.
A split time read with pictures of the dead, an old asylum, and a family feud that makes for a creepy but mesmerizing read that I still find in my thoughts from time to time. The author slowly throughout the book reveals pieces of the mystery and the faith theme...it’s like pealing back something deceptive to reveal the truth underneath that so few want known. Impossible to describe but definitely a must read— just please go buy it. There is just SO much in this book...so many truths.
Don’t be put off by the spooky...all things aren’t what they seem with the legend of Misty Wayfair...but her Creator is everywhere...and just waiting to be found by anyone who seeks Him.
I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Great time! This was my first time reading Jamie Jo Wright. I normally don’t read eerie unsettling books or horror for that manner. So this was out of my comfort zone.
I enjoyed it so much! It was atmospheric, compelling plot and the faith content was deeply moving. I also loved the romantic tension Jamie Jo Wright depicted those romantic moments with such tenderness and authenticity of the characters established arcs.
Also I appreciated the representation of mental illness which was handled with care, respect and tact. I loved the overall themes of acceptance and faith in God’s plan. One small thing was that the genealogical aspects of the story were a bit unclear for me. But it smoothed out by the end of the book.
Overall, I’m so glad I dipped my toe into this genre. I am so excited to read more of her books!
Emotionally gripping, Jaime Jo Wright delivers a captivating split-time mystery that'll leave you unable to breathe and unwilling to put this book down until the very last page.
Ethereal in its ghostly beauty is the mysterious legend of Misty Wayfair, the ghost that beckons for someone to hear her cries, learn her story, and see her suffering. Ms. Wright invites readers into the haunted lives of two women, Thea and Heidi, whose own troubled pasts trap them in a century old curse.
Chilling in its setting among the bluish gray forest that hides the secrets of an asylum, Ms. Wright holds nothing back. Bringing her characters to their knees to reveal deep wounds that can only be healed by the precious balm of truth she so aptly weaves into a story that offers not only hope and redemption to her characters but the chance to be seen for who they really are.
This story will resonate with readers and move them. A must read. Ms. Wright's best story yet.
First off, there were so many levels to this story that you wouldn’t think could be brought together so naturally—a spooky story, mental health representation, faith, a touch of romance—and yet Wright managed it all well and has officially won me over as a reader.
The faith elements throughout this story were beautiful! Wright weaved it in in such a way that it felt neither preachy nor watered down. It was offered as a comfort. A reminder of who we are in Christ and the purpose He has for everyone, even when we believe we are of no significance.
As someone who struggles with severe anxiety, this is one quote out of many that held so much meaning to me. The way Wright included and handled the aspect of mental health was so well done and I felt seen in a way I don’t often do in fiction.
Seriously. I have never seen a book represent mental health as well as this book did. Least of all of Christian fiction and the way the author approached the stigma within the church surrounding mental health was *chefs kiss*
As for the story, I was sucked in from the first page and was left guessing for much of the story as to what could be going on. The premise was intriguing and despite an exception or two the characters were likable—I absolutely love Connie Crawford and Simeon Coyle!
There were a few instances in the present day story that pulled me out of the story, but that’s just me as a historical reader talking, and it didn’t in anyway take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Side note—The romance between Thea and Simeon is the only kind of slow burn I’ll accept. It was beautiful!
I first discovered Jaime Jo Wright with her debut, The House on Foster Hill and absolutely loved it. So I wait in eager anticipation for her new releases. The Curse of Misty Wayfair is her 3rd book and releases in a couple weeks.
Thea and Heidi are 2 completely different characters and yet so similar, over a hundred years separate them but they are both searching for purpose, who they are and boy do they get more than they bargained for.
I LOVED this book! It was mysterious, suspenseful and kept me on my toes. It was beautifully written with authentic characters that battled issues relevant in both time periods but where society's views differed drastically. I loved that I didn't read the blurb and dove in blind, it added to the creepiness.
Dual time periods, yea my favorite, where it's the past storyline I usually love more, the historical part where I can learn more of the past. And I loved that here, the stigma of mental illness and the treatment along with covering up scandal. Throw in a ghost or two, some weird characters and it's great. But it was the current day plot I really enjoyed. The author created some interesting characters, they were authentic, those who suffered from real human issues - whether it was the dysfunctional family dynamics, again mental illness, loneliness, trust issues and more. It was the searching with no idea what to look for... now I should stop before I start giving away too much of the story.
The ended was perfect and really that's about all I will say about it. This is one of those books I want someone else to read so we can talk about it.
Suffice to say that my first read of 2019 was awesome! The Curse of Misty Wayfair is Christian fiction at its finest. This is definitely a book I highly recommend.
My thanks to Bethany House for an ARC (via Netgalley).
Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an fair and honest review.
A Goodreads friend recommended this book and I read the blurb, decided it looked fascinating and requested it. Part Gothic, spooky, broody and just plain fascinating. Since I generally read romantic-suspense and romance, "The Curse of Misty Wayfair" is a whole different animal to what I'm used to. The two different time periods and characters make for an unusual plot that just draws you deeper and deeper into the intricate story. That's the good, now for the bad. The plot lines in 1908 and present are both tedious, prodding and really slow to give up any secrets or make any progress toward resolution. The only reason I keep reading is because, well, I'm hooked.
In 1908 Dorthea Reed is a traveling photographer, specializing in providing loved ones with photographs of their dead relations. She is also on a mission to uncover her own relations, if any are still alive, and is lead to Pleasant Valley, MI by a letter written on her deathbed by her guardian. In tracing her mother, Thea uncovers is a family curse, and the very mysterious man whose family has been the victim of the Curse of Misty Wayfair. As Thea is drawn to Simeon Coyle, she is drawn deeper into the mystery of Misty Wayfair and asylum that seems to be at it's center.
In the present, Heidi Lane is on a similar journey, this time lead by a letter written by her estranged mother who suffers from dementia. Heidi has her own mental health issues having suffered from an anxiety disorder from a young age. Heidi has never quite lived up to her families expectations and as a result relations are strained. The present smacks up against the past when Heidi discovers one of Thea's death portraits and the deceased could be Heidi's twin. Her search leads her to Rhett and also leads to a series of threats against her and an attempt on her life. Is it possible that Heidi's problems in the present could be related to a long dead woman's curse from the past?
The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright is phenomenal and profound. If I could give it more stars I would. This is one of my top reads of 2019.
Pleasant Valley, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, connects Thea Reed and Heidi Lane across the decades as does the legend of Misty Wayfair. Thea and Heidi have been searching for acceptance and identity and their journeys intersect in the unlikely place of an insane asylum. The dual-time story is rich with the mysterious. The narrative is elegant, evoking a setting that pulls you into the story. The characters Ms. Wright pens are flawed, human, and relatable. She aptly portays each time period and connects them seamlessly. The heroes are supportive of the heroines and they are the strong silent types but have their own personalities.
The spiritual truth within these pages is something we all need to ponder: “We weren’t created to find our identity in life. We were created to discover our Creator. In doing so, our identity is defined.” I love that Ms.Wright starts where the Bible starts: with a Creator and His creation. For Jesus was revealed in Genesis! Ms. Wright handles the topics of mental illness and autism with finesse and sensitivity. How she presents the contrasts of 1908 and the present shows how far we have come in the care of these disorders. How could this baffling saga impact a lady from 1908 and one from another century? I had a delightful time as the stories unfolded. This is the kind of Christian Fiction I adore: suspenseful and historical. Although the book comes to a satisfying conclusion, I am glad not all the threads were tied up at the end. It gives you something to ponder. This story will linger.
This is the third novel I have read by Jaime Jo Wright and she just keeps getting better! I recommend this novel to those who are looking for an exceptional, thought provoking, engrossing and intense Christian book.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
I am grateful to the reviewer who gave something away about the ghosts in this story or I'm not sure I would have picked this book up. It seemed so unlike Ms. Wright's other stories that at first I was hesitant...and really, much of the book kept giving me pause. But in the end it was worth the wait to get the complete story.
Normally I give a brief synopsis in my reviews, but for this book I won’t. It’s too good to give any of it away. Mysteries, who-done-its, spooky themes and surprises entertain the reader in both time periods within. I will say that it’s more than what it appears.
Melancholy was a condition of the spirit and the soul, but also of the mind.
That opening line kills.
Most of the reviews I've written on Jaime Jo's books have been more about how she made me feel. And everything I've said in the past applies to this one. But I also want to highlight how amazing of an author she is.
Jaime Jo knows how to craft a superbly haunting, deliciously creepy, mind-blowing mystery. I don't know how she does it. The complexities of this plot are just - I don't know how she can keep a handle on everything and not miss one single thread of the mystery, wrapping everything up neatly in the end like there's nothing to it. It's truly amazing.
I have to say, I predicted a certain plot twist in the very beginning. However, Jaime threw in so many twists and kept me so completely baffled that I seriously doubted my ability to predict anything throughout the entire novel. Any predictions I did have were thrown out as the story got more and more muddled and confusing and just so crazy in the very best way.
And she's not afraid of making her characters relatable and vulnerable. That, in one word, is how this story hit me. Vulnerable. From Heidi's secret desire to simply be loved and belong, to Emma's special needs, to Rhett's overprotectiveness and tendency to shut down - it all fits. And I love Jaime for that, normalizing that every person has their own personal struggles to deal with. And that it's okay, it's what makes people, people. Because that's what life is. Raw and gritty and vulnerable and REAL.
Back to the subject at hand, The Curse of Misty Wayfair is a phenomenal story with stellar writing and I couldn't get enough. I had to force myself to slow down and digest every word, or I would have raced to the end to discover how all the threads untangle. Highly recommend for those who enjoy stories with that subtle gothic feel, and even those who want to read suspense but aren't a big fan of the hardcore creepy stories out there.
With her third full-length release, Jaime Jo Wright cements herself in the place of must-read eerie suspense authors. Even more impressive, she does it not one, but two time periods!
In The Curse of Misty Wayfair, Wright explores the treatment of mental health issues in 1908 as Thea Reed works to uncover her history. Did someone living in the asylum in Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin give birth to her? More than 100 years later, Heidi Lane returns to Pleasant Valley at the behest of her mother. Yet, the woman is suffering from dementia and can’t give Heidi the answers she desperately longs for.
Both Thea and Heidi are searching for their identities. While Thea doesn’t know her true family, Heidi doesn’t feel like she is accepted in hers.
Wright ties these two stories together seamlessly and the truth behind the Misty Wayfair legend kept me guessing until it was revealed. The characters are engaging, the story line is unique and well-paced, and the supporting characters give extra depth to the story. With books like this, Wright has a long career in front of her.
P.S. If you are easily spooked, be sure and read this one with the lights on.
Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Jaime Jo Wright's book just keep getting better and better all the time (and they started out as pretty impressive). Right from the first page the story grabbed me, both Thea's and Heidi's. Part of it is the creepy, dark tone that is so prevalent in Wright's stories, something thrillingly different from most anything else I typically read. And the other part is that Wright is just one good writer. I cannot say which heroine I liked more--both are compelling, sympathetic, misunderstood, searching . . . but both are strong in their own way, even amongst their myriad of weaknesses.
It boggles my mind how the author can write such a complex book, where threads from the past and present intertwine, where every scene, every page is important because the details all matter. It isn't as cut and dried as a typical mystery/suspense, where the subconscious goal of the reader is to figure out the villain or the mystery. Here I can read with such enjoyment that my thoughts aren't subtly distracting me by trying to figure everything out. I'm just along for the ride. And it's a dark, spooky, heart-breaking, yet hopeful and satisfying ride.
Depression and mental disorders are something that doesn't come up much in Christian fiction, at least certainly not to the degree that Wright has in this story (and she does a wonderful job of it, based on my minimal knowledge). What is apparent on the surface is not always indicative of the turmoil beneath, and there are a lot of characters who aren't all that they seem, like Heidi and her cheery, hopeful outward appearance that disguises her constant fear and threat of panic attacks. But some, like Rhett and his mom, are wonderfully what-you-see-is-what-you-get, in all the best ways, sharing the love of Christ with the lost.
It is spectacular. For anyone who enjoys a spooky ghost story, I highly recommend it.
With each stroke of the pen Ms. Wright creates a work of art that draws you into a world of mystery that spans from 1908 to present day. I love the way the dual time line is woven together so intricate that you never miss a beat while reading. I find the subject of mental illness and how it was treated so heartbreaking, but love how well researched it is. This book captures your attention from page one and eerily draws you into the story. The subject matter of mental illness, dementia, and being orphaned are dealt with in a sensitive manner and is very thought provoking. Not a run of the mill read, this is unpredictable with secrets and twists and turns that are captivating. This author has become a force to be reckoned with and deserves many accolades for her stellar writing style. I loved Thea and Heidi and how their stories are intertwined like two trees gnarled together after a century. Absolutely will be on my top ten books of 2019. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
"Why do people dismiss the dead so easily? Once you're passed, you're no longer important?'
Jaime Jo Wright has brought us another extremely intriguing novel, this one a bit creepy, too. Written in her signature dual time line, it held me completely enthralled. Here's why:
Thea Reed----photographer of the dead, orphan, searching for her story Simeon Coyle---groundskeeper of a mental asylum, photographs the patients for the records Heidi Lane---unwanted, anxious, always looking for somewhere to belong Rhett Crawford---rescuer of those who don't realize they need rescuing. Misty Wayfair---wrongly murdered, still trying to punish those responsible?
With a character cast like this, how can the reader not be captivated with what lies within the pages of the book? Thea Reed was left on the steps of an orphanage as a small child and has come to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin in 1908 desperate to find her mother. Everything she hears leads her to a mental asylum, where, if truth be told, all is definitely not well. She agrees to help Simeon Coyle, groundskeeper, photograph the patients for record keeping purposes. It doesn't bother her because her job is to photograph the dead.
The legend of Misty Wayfair has been brought to life again in both timelines. Misty, who was murdered and now haunts the area and death follows in her wake.
Present day: Heidi Lane gets a cryptic letter from her mother, a victim of dementia, that begs her to return home to Pleasant Valley at once. A letter that speaks of voices, ghosts and things that need to be fixed. Heidi sees a ghostly woman at her window shortly after settling in at her sister's lodge, and finds a hundred year old photograph album with a dead woman's photo who looks exactly like her. The woman at the window haunts the grounds of the now abandoned asylum. And the legend of Misty Wayfair is once again resurrected as Heidi now has reason to fear for her life.
Can these two women, over 100 years apart, find the answers they seek and disprove the original curse that link them?
Jaimi Jo Wright brought us her debut novel two years ago and it was amazing. Now she is proving that she is only getting better! This book completely captivated me! Completely intriguing, it was, and all through it, my mind kept casting about trying to figure out what was going on. Never once did I guess, either. Wonderful writing, engaging characters and a plot that just grabs the mind, this one is one for the keeper shelf. Highly recommended.
*My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
"You're like a sailor's siren, Thea. Dangerous. I don't know why, but you call me with a silent song. I'm afraid you will wreck me."
Wow. Just wow. This is the first book by Jaime Jo Wright that I have read and it is absolutely amazing! The writing is lyrical, melodic, and haunting. The plot has delicious twists and turns as Thea works out her heritage in 1908 and Heidi works our her own in current day Wisconsin. The characters are so real and memorable. And the author manages to provide stark, vivid, and somewhat chilling description of the asylum and the awful practices in early 1900s, as well as an inside look at anxiety and dementia during the current day, while painting a high level of eerie suspense into the background.
I truly enjoyed meeting Thea and Simeon from 1908 Pleasant Valley, WI. Thea is a tender, loyal, and loving woman who comes to Pleasant Valley to try to find her mother. Her work as a traveling post-mortem photographer has her meeting Simeon who is a faithful, loyal, and sweet man from an ostracized family in the town. The folklore of Misty Wayfair and her supposed ghost that is haunting Simeon's family become central to their relationship as Thea and Simeon work together to figure out what happened to Thea's mother.
Heidi, with her flighty and rebellious ways, and Rhett, with his brooding yet intelligent and loyal ways, work together in current day Pleasant Valley to figure out why Heidi's mother, who is suffering from dementia, has called her to the town where she now resides in a memory unit. The folklore of Misty Wayfair, which is tied to the town itself, resurfaces in Heidi and Rhett's relationship but you will be surprised at how the "curse" plays out in the end.
The spiritual truths, given by Simeon in 1908 and Rhett and his mother Connie in current day, are spot on and provide the needed light in both Thea and Heidi's life as they navigate their dark pasts.
What an incredible read! I must go back and read The House on Foster Hill and The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. If you enjoy well-written suspense, you will love this book. And it has a dual timeline as an added bonus!
I was given a copy of this book by the author and Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
"You are the reason the voices are never heard. . . . . .come . . . come quickly."
Two women, separated by time and eternity, yet inexplicably drawn together by a postmortem photograph and a cryptic letter crafted by one whose mind has become crippled beyond recognition. Both are determined to find answers to the question that continually rages in their minds; "who am I"?
Dorothea Reed, orphaned at a young age and now a postmortem photographer, is drawn to the small town of Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin to search for clues about her birth mother, never imagining the trail would lead to the front door of a local mental asylum whose residents simply live in order to die. And then there are the unexplained sightings of a local woman who has been dead for years, the cursed Misty Wayfair.
One hundred years later, Heidi Lane returns to her home town of Pleasant Valley after being summoned by her aging mother. Heidi has a myriad of questions about her past that she's not sure her remaining parent can answer; for it appears that someone, or something, is determined to destroy Heidi's thin thread of equilibrium. And what about that old photograph; the one she happened upon in the town's antique store, the woman could be her twin.
It's so rare to read a book with this many layers . . . . and yet every single one of them carries its own weight so beautifully . . . . while together they appear as a single thread. It's magnificent to behold.
"Fix your eyes on the target and let the arrow fly. The rest will follow."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I think it will be easier to dot point good vs not so good: Good 1. Well written. The first paragraph is top notch prose 2. Once both timelines have been introduced, the narrative became gripping and fast paced (mid book, for a little while at least)
Not So Good 1. Both timelines took a while to "come together", with far too much time spent on the smaller details which did not mean much in the greater scheme of things 2. Too many relationships to remember; to keep having to reference back to every so often. Another reviewer suggested writing down all the names and who is related to whom - great advice! 3. The dogs names. I'm sorry if this sounds petty but I want to be completely lost in the story while reading, not pausing to try and figure out how to pronounce a name. 4. I really didn't feel the (sanctified) sexual tension between the protags and their respectives in either timeline.
As I was about to write a few more "not so good", I decided to stop. I feel a little nasty with this nitpicking. At the end of the day, this book wasn't what I expected however I did finish it - albeit not in a "can't put it down" fashion. I was only curious to find out "whodunnit".