VANISHING AT CASTLE MOREAU by Jaime Jo Wright

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright Banner

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

by Jaime Jo Wright

April 3-28, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright

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. With women disappearing from the area and a legend that seems to parallel these eerie circumstances, Daisy is thrust into a web that threatens to 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 of disappearance, insanity, 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 amidst the darkness shrouding Castle Moreau.

Praise for The Vanishing at Castle Moreau:

“An imaginative and mysterious tale.”

New York Times bestselling author RACHEL HAUCK

“With real, flawed characters, who grapple with real-life struggles, readers will be drawn into this gripping suspense from the very first page. Good luck putting it down. I couldn’t.”

LYNETTE EASON, bestselling, award-winning author of the Extreme Measures series

“Wright pens another delightfully creepy tale where nothing is quite as it seems and characters seek freedom from nightmares both real and imagined.”

Library Journal

“Wright captivates. A thrilling tale. . . . Readers won’t want to put this down.”

Publishers Weekly

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright is my second book by this author. I now want to go back and read all of Wrights other books. This one grabbed me from the very first page and never let me go until the end. I love the dual timeline that follows three different people who comes to live at the castle. There was The Girl who lived at the castle, and Daisy, who was a new addition to the castle, then Cleo who was trying to find out what was going on at the castle.

This is one of those nail bitting books I am always talking about. I love the mystery in the story, I love the many twists and turns that had my head spinning, I love the spookyness of each spooky scene. And though I probably would be too scared to go through the castle myself, I would love to visit it. I just can’t say enough about this book, yet if I say more I will end up giving away something good. So, you need to read it for yourself to get all of the juicy, scary details.

I wish I could give this book more than Five Stars, but that’s all we are allowed. If you enjoy a good nail-biting, can’t put it down, scary thriller, you ‘can’t miss The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Dual time Suspense/Thriller

Published by: Bethany House Publishers

Publication Date: April 2023

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN: 9780764238345

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | Baker Book House

Read an excerpt:

The one who rescues,

who loves,

and who stands in the gap.

God knew I needed you.

The Girl

MAY 8, 1801

When I was a little girl, my father would often come to my bedside after my screams wakened him in the night. He would smooth back my damp ringlets, the mere feel of his callused and strong hand inspiring an instantaneous calm.

“What is it, little one?” he would ask me.

Every night, the same question. Every night, I would give the same answer.

“It is her again, Papa.”

“Her?” He would tilt his head, giving credence to my words and refraining from scolding or mockery.

“Yes.” I would nod, my head brushing the clean cotton of my pillowcase. “The woman with the crooked hand.”

“Crooked hand, hmm?” His query only increased my adamant insistence.

“Yes. She has a nub with two fingers.” A tear would often trail down my six-­year-­old cheek.

My father would smile with a soothing calm. “You are dreaming again, mon chéri.”

“No. She was here.” He must believe me!

“Shhh.” Another gentle stroke of his hand across my forehead. “She is the voice of the mistress of your dreams. We all have one, you know. Only yours needs extra-special care because she isn’t beautiful like the rest. She is the one who brings the nightmares, but she doesn’t mean to harm you. She is only doing her best with what she has been given, and what she has been given are her own horrors.”

“Her hand?” I would reply, even though we repeated this explanation many nights in a row.

“Yes,” my father would nod. “Her hand is a reflection of the ugliness in her stories. Stories she tells to you at night when all is quiet and your eyes are closed.”

“But they were open,” I would insist.

“No. You only think they were open.”

“I am afraid of the ghost, Papa,” I urge.

His eyes smile. “Oui. And yet there are no spirits to haunt you. Only the dream mistress. Shoo her away and she will flee. She is a mist. She is not real. See?” And he would wave his hand in the air. “Shoo, mistress. Away and be gone!”

We would survey the dark bedroom then, and, seeing nothing, my father would lean over and press his lips to my cheek. “Now sleep. I will send your mother’s dream mistress to you. Her imaginings are pleasant ones.”

“Thank you,” I would whisper.

Another kiss. The bed would rise a bit as he lifted his weight from the mattress. His nightshirt would hang around his shins, and he would pause at the doorway of my room where I slept. An only child, in a home filled with the fineries of a Frenchman’s success of trade. “Sleep, mon chéri.”

“Yes, Papa.”

The door would close.

My eyes would stay open.

I would stare at the woman with the crooked hand, who hovered in the shadows where the door had just closed. I would stare at her and know what my father never would.

She existed.

She was not a dream.

one

Daisy François
APRIL 1870

The castle cast its hypnotic pull over any passerby who happened along to find it, tucked deep in the woods in a place where no one would build a castle, let alone live in one. It served no purpose there. No strategy of war, no boast of wealth, no respite for a tired soul. Instead, it simply existed. Tugging. Coercing. Entrapping. Its two turrets mimicked bookends, and if removed, one would fear the entire castle would collapse like a row of standing volumes. Windows covered the façade above a stone archway, which drew her eyes to the heavy wooden door with its iron hinges, the bushes along the foundation, and the stone steps leading to the mouth of the edifice. Beyond it was a small orchard of apple trees, their tiny pink blossoms serving as a delicate backdrop for the magnificent property.

Castle Moreau.

Home to an orphan. Or it would be.

Daisy clutched the handles of her carpetbag until her knuckles were sure to be white beneath her threadbare gloves. She stood in the castle’s shadow, staring at its immense size. Who had built such an imposing thing? Here, in the northern territory, where America boasted its own mansions but still rejected any mimicking of the old country. Castles were supposed to stare over their fiefdoms, house lords and ladies, gentry, noblemen, and summon the days of yore when knights rescued fair maidens. Castles were not supposed to center themselves inside a forest, on the shore of a lake, a mile from the nearest town.

This made Castle Moreau a mystery. No one knew why Tobias Moreau had built it decades before. Today the castle held but one occupant: Tobias’s daughter, Ora Moreau, who was eighty-­six years old. She was rarely ever seen, and even more rarely, ever heard from. Still, Ora’s words had graced most households in the region, printed between the covers of books with embossed golden titles. Her horror stories had thrilled many readers, and over the years, the books helped in making an enigma of the reclusive old woman.

When the newspaper had advertised a need for a housemaid—­preferably one without a home or ties to distract her from her duties—­it was sheer coincidence that Daisy had seen it, even more of a coincidence that she fit the requirements. And so it was a surprise she was hired after only a brief letter inquiring after the position.

Now she stood before the castle, her pulse thrumming with the question why? Why had she accepted the position? Why would she allow herself to be swallowed up by this castle? The stories were bold, active. Women disappeared here. It was said that Castle Moreau was a place that consumed the vulnerable. Welcoming them in but never giving them back.

Daisy stiffened her shoulders. Swallowed. Tilted her chin upward in determination. She had marched into hell before—­many times, in fact. Castle Moreau couldn’t possibly be much worse than that.

Cleo Clemmons
TWO YEARS BEFORE PRESENT DAY

They had buried most souvenirs of the dead with the traditions of old, and yet what a person didn’t understand before death, they would certainly comprehend after. The need for that ribbon-­tied lock of hair, the memento mori photograph of the deceased, a bone fragment, a capsule of the loved one’s ashes—­morbid to those who had not lost, but understandable to those who had.

Needing to touch the tangible was a fatal flaw in humanity. Faith comforted only so far until the gasping panic overcame the grieving like a tsunami, stealing oxygen, with the only cure being something tangible. Something to touch. To hold. To be held. It was in these times the symbolism attached to an item became pivotal to the grieving. A lifeline of sorts.

For Cleo, it was a thumbprint. Her grandfather’s thumbprint. Inked after death, digitized into a .png file, uploaded to a jewelry maker, and etched into sterling silver. It hung around her neck, settling between her breasts, just left of her heart. No one would know it was there, and if they did, they wouldn’t ask. A person didn’t ask about what was held closest to another’s heart. That was information that must be offered, and Cleo had no intention of doing so. To anyone. Her grandfather was her memory alone—­the good and the bad. What he’d left behind in the form of Cleo’s broken insides were Cleo’s to disguise. Faith held her hand, or rather, she clenched hands with faith, but in the darkness, when no one was watching, Cleo fit her thumb to her grandfather’s print and attempted to feel the actual warmth of his hand, to infuse all the cracks and offer momentary refuge from the ache.

Funny how this was what she thought of. Now. With what was left of her world crashing down around her like shrapnel pieces, blazing lava-­orange and deadly.

“Pick up, pick up, pick up,” Cleo muttered into her phone, pressing it harder against her ear than she needed to. She huddled in the driver’s seat of her small car, all of her worldly possessions packed into the trunk and the back seat. She could hear the ringing on the other end. She owed it to Riley. One call. One last goodbye.

“Hey.”

“Riley!” Cleo stiffened in anticipation.

“. . . you’ve reached Riley . . .” the voice message continued, and Cleo laid her head back against the seat. The recording finished, and Cleo squeezed her eyes shut against the world outside of her car, against the darkness, the fear, the grief. This was goodbye. It had to be.

The voicemail beep was Cleo’s cue. She swallowed, then spoke, her words shivering with compressed emotion. What did a person say in a last farewell?

“Riley, it’s me. Cleo. I—” she bit her lip, tasting blood—“I-­I won’t be calling again. This is it. You know. It’s what I hoped would never happen. I am so, so sorry this happened to you! Just know I tried to protect you. But now—” her breath caught as tears clogged her throat—“this is the only way I can. Whatever happens now, just know I love you. I will always love you.” Desperation warred with practicality.

Shut off the phone.

There was no explaining this.

There never would be.

“Goodbye, Ladybug.” Cleo thumbed the end button, then threw the phone against the car’s dashboard. A guttural scream curled up her throat and split her ears as the inside of the vehicle absorbed the sound.

Then it was silent.

That dreadful, agonizing silence that came with the burgeoning, unknown abyss of a new start. Cleo stared at her phone lying on the passenger-­side floor. She lunged for it, fumbling with a tiny tool until she popped open the slot on its side. Pulling out the SIM card, Cleo bent it back and forth until it snapped. Determined, she pushed open the car door and stepped out.

The road was heavily wooded on both sides. Nature was her only observer.

She flung the broken SIM card into the ditch, marched to the front of the car, and wedged the phone under the front tire. She’d roll over it when she left, crush it, and leave nothing to be traced.

Cleo took a moment to look around her. Oak forest, heavy undergrowth of brush, wild rosebushes whose thorns would take your skin off, and a heap of dead trees and branches from the tornado that had ravaged these woods decades prior. The rotting wood was all that remained to tell the tale now, but it was so like her life. Rotting pieces that never went away. Ever.

She climbed back into the car and twisted the key, revving the engine to life. Cleo felt her grandfather’s thumbprint until it turned her skin hot with the memories. Memories of what had set into motion a series of frightful events. Events that were her responsibility to protect her sister from.

Goodbye, Ladybug.

There was no explaining in a voicemail to a twelve-­year-­old girl that her older sister was abandoning her in order to save her. Cleo knew from this moment on, Riley would play that message, and slowly resentment would seep in as she grew older. Resentment that Cleo had left and would never come back.

But she couldn’t go back. Not if she loved Riley. Sometimes love required the ultimate sacrifice. Sometimes love required death. Death to all they knew, all they had known. If Cleo disappeared, then Riley would be left alone. Riley would be safe. She could grow up as innocent as possible.

So long as Cleo Clemmons no longer existed.

***

Excerpt from The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by JAIME JO WRIGHT. Copyright 2023 by Jaime Sundsmo. Reproduced with permission from Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—­for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—­without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

 

 

Author Bio:

Jaime Jo Wright

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of six novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap’n Hook; and their littles, Peter Pan and CoCo.

To learn more, visit Jamie at:

www.jaimewrightbooks.com (& check out her Podcast – MadLit Musings!)

Goodreads

BookBub – @JaimeJoWright

Instagram – @JaimeJoWright

Twitter – @JaimeJoWright

Facebook – @JaimeJoWright

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries! https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=309863

 

 

 

JOIN IN ON THE GIVEAWAY:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Jaime Jo Wright and Bethany House Publishers. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

https://kingsumo.com/js/embed.js

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

 

Of Rags and Riches by 9 Awesome Authors

9781683222637.HO.0.m

ABOUT THESE NOVELLA’S

Love Flourishes during America’s Gilded Age
Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed.

Union Pacific Princess by Jennifer Uhlarik – Cheyenne, Dakota Territory, 1867
In the hell-on-wheels rail town of Cheyenne, grieving Boston socialite Dara Forsythe must choose between her estranged father; Connor, a bigwig with the Union Pacific Railroad; and Gage Wells, a former Confederate sharpshooter bent on derailing the Transcontinental Railroad’s progress.

The Right Pitch by Susanne Dietze – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1876
Guarded industrialist Beck Emerson agrees to sponsor his sister’s all-female baseball team. But when pretty pitcher Winnie Myles throws a curveball that makes him team manager, it challenges his plan to play it safe in life and love.

A Gift in Secret by Kathleen Y’Barbo – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1871
May Bolen offers Sam Austin a marriage of convenience. He will get to run the company that drove his into bankruptcy, and she will be free from her father’s rule to travel the world. But when Sam meets May, he knows the offer is too good to be true—or convenient—when hearts become tangled.

For Richer or Poorer by Natalie Monk – Newark, New Jersey, 1885
In order to bring her starving family to New Jersey, Polish immigrant Marcella Lipski must marry wealth. So she takes Americanization lessons from the poor-but-mysterious cart driver teaching her English—and loses her heart in the process.

A House of Secrets by Michelle Griep – St. Paul, MN 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Win, Place, or Show by Erica Vetsch – New York City, 1890
Beryl Valentine, a socialite with a passion for horses, finds herself falling in love with her riding instructor, a man her parents will never accept. Will she follow her parents’ wishes, or let Gard Kennedy ride away with her heart?

The Fisherman’s Nymph by Jaime Jo Wright – Flambeau River, Wisconsin, 1890
The reclusive daughter of a fly-fisherman guide must read the waters for a wealthy gentleman’s sport and send him back where he belongs before he hooks her heart and takes her away from the river she was born to love.

The Gardener’s Daughter by Anne Love – Bay View, Michigan, 1895
When the nephew of a prestigious Chautauqua resort founder sets his eye on the new library assistant believing her an academy student, it will take more than reciting poetry for love to bloom when he learns she’s the humble gardener’s daughter.

A Tale of Two Hearts by Gabrielle Meyer – Little Falls, Minnesota, June 1899
Reputations and jobs are on the line when lady’s maid, Lucy Taylor, and neighboring footman, Elijah Boyer, compete against each other for a place of honor during the annual community appreciation event hosted by their wealthy employers.

untitleddesign_1_original

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

Of Rags and Riches is a collection of none novellas from nine amazing authors. Set in the mid to late 1800’s, each story is of poverty as well as luxury during this Guilded Age in our history. My review focuses on the first story in this book, Jennifer Uhlarik’s Union Pacific Princess. And as I read each of the other stories, each one is so well written, going a little deeper than a lot if the novellas I have read. This Of Rags and Riches is truly one of the best books in the Barbour Publishers Collections I have read…..

In Union Pacific Princess, Dara is headed to the Dakota Territory to see her father, who is working to get the railroad through the territory. This is definitely not the life she is use to living in Boston, but when Gage injures himself while protecting Dara and her cousin Becca, Dara is determined to help him until his injuries are healed. However, this does not sit well with Gage, since he is in the Dakota Territory to stop the railroad Dara’s dad is trying to build. This is not sounding too good for Gage!

I love Dara. She is sweet and caring, but her father, his attitude did much to hurt Dara even more. But Dara could stand her own very well, and her feisty attitude proved it more than once! Author Jennifer Uhlarik does a really nice job of creating characters and writing them into her story on a way we all can love. I love how she writes so many different angles to this story, then weaves them all together in the end. If you love historical fiction, especially Christian and clean reads, you will love this story. And you will love all of the other Stories in the Of Rags and Riches Romance Collections from Barbour Publishers!

A special thanks to the author Jennifer Uhlarik and JustReadTours for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Erica Vetsch...Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, http://www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time.

📚
📚
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.  You can visit her online at http://www.susannedietze.com and subscribe to her newsletters at http://eepurl.com/bieza5
📚
📚
Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com.
📚
📚
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. Gabrielle can be found at http://www.gabriellemeyer.com where she writes about her passion for history, Minnesota, and her faith.
📚
📚
Natalie Monk is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. A country girl from the time she could shimmy under a string of barbed wire, Natalie makes her home in North Mississippi, where she proudly wears the label “preacher’s kid.” She is a homeschool graduate, part-time virtual assistant, and former post hole digger. She loves porch swings, old-fashioned camp meetings, and traveling with her family’s singing group. Her goal in writing, and in living, is to bring glory to her Savior, Jesus Christ. Come chat with her on her website: http://www.nataliemonk.com.
📚
📚
Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.
📚
📚
Anne Love is a vintage-loving author fueled by prayer, strong black coffee, and characters of generations past–both real and fictional. By day, she’s a Family Nurse Practitioner in northern Indiana, and by night, she writes historical romance flavored with vintage rural charm, inspired by her faith and family roots. Wife of a schoolteacher and mother of two young adults and a daughter-in-law, she fills her free time with genealogy, gardening, mentoring, and music. Anne is a long-time member of American Christian Fiction Writers and cofounder of the group blog http://www.coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com where she contributes weekly.
Connect with her at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnneLove
📚
📚
Jaime Jo Wright  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
📚
📚

KATHLEEN Y’BARBO is a Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author with more than one hundred books have sold two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Student and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.

When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.

Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.

To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at http://www.kathleenybarbo.com

 

%d bloggers like this: