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The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright Review

About the Book

Title: The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: April 4, 2023

Genre: Historical Suspense, Mystery, Gothic

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.

Jaime Jo Wright, multi award-winning author–including the Christy and Daphne du Maurier awards–is a coffee-fueled and cat-fancier extraordinaire. She has entwined her life with the legendary Captain Hook, residing serenely in Wisconsin’s rural woodlands. Her literary vocation involves penning chilling Gothic tales, a baffling change from that of Austenites, with a strong preference to the master of dark, Edgar Allan Poe. Two mischievous urchins adorn their family, who keep their mother on her toes – providing an exhilarating amount chaos.

Visit her at: and listen to her podcast MadLit Musings on your favorite podcast player or at

My Impressions

“…fear was, and would always be, her closest companion.”

“Welcome to the Hotel California! …You can check out, but you can never leave!” (The Eagles) I heard that song playing over and over in my mind as I read Jaime Jo Wright’s newest Gothic suspense book, The Vanishing at Castle Moreau. What an incredible book! I laughed a lot at Wright’s wicked sense of humor. I was tempted to count the numerous references she inserted to pop culture and literature. (A challenge?) A dual-timeline, the two, possibly three stories tied together well, contrasting and paralleling each other. 2 different young women, in different centuries, answer the call for caretaker to an elderly grandmother who is sequestered in Castle Moreau. For both, it is an escape. But soon, both Daisy and Cleo find there is no escaping the hold of Castle Moreau. Spooky, haunting, yet filled with rays of Hope from faith breaking through, Wright eventually brings her novel to a satisfying non-paranormal conclusion. You don’t want to miss this suspenseful novel with its amazing conclusion from Jaime Jo Wright and Bethany House.

I received a copy of the book from NetGalley. I also bought my own ecopy and pb copy for my keeper shelf. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Are you mad? Will you become what you hate?”

“Beauty is found in walls of stone, beauty where love begins.”

“…the castle called with an addictive element. Beckoning. It reached into the deep places in one’s soul and began to expose them for what they were. Broken pieces. Pieces only God could heal, and only others could help rescue if they simply had kindness in their hearts.”

The simple truth was that genetics ran deep, generations didn’t escape the curses of those who came before, and sins were likely destined to repeat themselves.

Protect. Save. Run. Her mantra in life.

“…fear was, and would always be, her closest companion.”

“It is in the dark corners, in the places we avert our eyes from, where truth lingers. Truth is not palatable. In fact, most cannotmanage the truth.”

My Rating


Magnificent to the Max!! Only Jaime Jo Wright could write a story this humorous and spooky, and yet have it end with solid Hope!

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A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

About the Book

Title: A Dance in Donegal

Author: Jennifer Deibel

Publisher: Revell

Released: February, 2021

Genre: Historical Romance

To fulfill her mother’s dying wish, Moira Doherty moves from Boston to the rolling green hills of 1921 Ireland to teach in a village school. She doesn’t expect to fall in love–or to uncover a scandalous family reputation her mother left behind years ago.

My Impressions

Could it really be that this is Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel? A Dance in Donegal by Revell is so gloriously rich in Irish culture, lore, and the magic of the Emerald Isle itself, a reader who is even the slightest fan of historical romance and mystery will be swept away. I certainly was.
In 1921, Moira Doherty leaves Boston to teach school in her deceased mother’s hometown of Ballymann, in Donegal. What starts as an adventure becomes an arduous trial as Moira finds the Irish folk distrusting of her and her motives. With a very small handful of friends, Moira must decide who or Who she will please and learn to live well with the consequences.
Sean McFadden, the young, searching, roof thatcher, is such a quiet gem. Thoughtful, humorous, quick to learn from his mentor, Colm, Sean is a deep well as opposed to the babbling brook personality of a certain returned barrister.
I love the warmth of Brid, and the great depth and wisdom of both Peg and Colm. What it would be like to have them for friends!
I love how God’s quiet voice speaks His Word into Moira’s heart, calming her and giving her peace. Comforting Scripture is quite naturally sprinkled throughout.
“Once again, the words allowed a sense of peace to settle over Moira’s heart. She might not know what the future held, but she knew the One Who did, and she knew of His love for her.”
Forgiveness, obedience despite consequences, and grace vs. judgment are all themes Deibel presents well.
So many Notable Quotables. Here are a few:

“When ya seek to love the Laird wit’ all year heart, soul, an’ mind, and then seek ta love others selflessly, ye’re a man who will make a difference in this world one person at a time.”

“Smack in the middle of what God is askin’ us is the best place for any of us to be.”

“The Laird can change even the coldest man’s heart.”

“It doesna matter what the world says I am. It doesna even matter what I believe myself to be…if I believe in the Laird Jesus Christ and what He did fer me, I canna be condemned.”

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! I expect A Dance in Donegal to be in the running for CF Book of the Year!!

About the Author

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher and freelance writer. Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic Magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona.

Debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, releases February 2, 2021 from Revell. Follow Moira Doherty to the wilds of rural Ireland in 1921. Available for preorder wherever books are sold.

Connect with Jennifer on her blog at or on Twitter @thisgalsjourney.