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The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright

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The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

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

Book Details:

Genre: Dual time Suspense/Thriller

Published by: Bethany House Publishers

Publication Date: April 2023

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN: 9780764238345

To purchase The Vanishing at Castle Moreau click any of the following links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads | Baker Book House

Guest Post by Jaime Jo Wright

The Secret Women of History

Writing stories where history intersects with the present is always a familiar scouring of the past for interesting tidbits. What I find there is often surprising, and this time was no exception. The conversation between my friend and I went something like this:

Friend – “Did you know that in the 1500s there was a female serial killer?”

Me – “Do go on!”

Friend – “She was a countess—Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary—who was fascinated with the abduction, torture, and murder of hundreds of girls and women during a twenty-year time span.”

Me – “Maybe that’s too gruesome for readers?”

Friend – “But a castle with secret women . . . think about it!”

And think I did. Because so very often this is how history is. It’s a treasure trove of what my friend and I call the “secret women of history.” These are the women who, for good or for bad, impacted our pasts with significant influence.

Take Mary Shelley, for example. Not many in her time would have dubbed her Queen of Horror, and some preferred to credit her husband for penning the famous novel. And she’s synonymous with the elements of the dark and the Gothic, not unlike her male counterpart, Edgar A. Poe.

So when I wrote The Vanishing at Castle Moreau, inspiration struck in the form of women whose stories have either been told less or not told at all, and perhaps not even remembered. It was a natural transition then to a castle with a famous authoress of Gothic horror, who had women notoriously vanishing on the castle’s property. I wasn’t expecting a fictional marriage of sorts between Elizabeth the serial killer and Mary the horror writer, but so goes the way of fiction, right?

Exploring vanishing women in a novel such as The Vanishing at Castle Moreau became important to me on multiple levels. For centuries, women have been victimized. How many cold cases of young women still exist across the world today? How many times in history were women disposable enough to be warranted with little investigation into their disappearances?

Take the women of Elizabeth Bathory’s bloody rampage. It wasn’t until Elizabeth grew discontent and branched into the higher echelons of society to find her victims that the disappearance of so many women became a more pressing matter of concern. The caste system of lower class and those in servitude warranted a passing concern but could easily be explained by other measures than a rampaging killer wearing a dress and boasting a title.

Mary Shelley herself bore the skepticism of those around her and even the rumor (or truth?) mills that she saved her husband’s dehydrated heart for sentimental purposes. Surely this couldn’t be a woman of great wisdom and respectability! Yet she did devote most of her widowed life to raising her child and to education.

What would happen if there were a castle, a writer with dubious intent, women who vanish over the decades until we arrive to present day only to meet with the emotional conundrum of questioning whether the castle itself is the demon, or perhaps the demon is us?

To be sure, all castles hold secrets. Many of them never speak and never will speak of what they witnessed. Their histories have been lost to the annals of time. Any ghosts that brushed against their stone walls were unable to grip the stories played out within. Hundreds of these stories—no, thousands—are the stories of women and girls who forged life from the hardness of the world in which they lived. The unsung ones who disappeared either in life or into the past never to be heard from again.

These women are the blossoms that spread throughout generations. The impressions made on our futures. The ancestors who deserve to be heard. Even if their stories include evil. Even if their tales are tragic. Most especially if their spirits were warriors.

Read an excerpt from The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

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.


Excerpt from The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jamie Jo Wright.  Copyright 2023 by Jamie Jo Wright. Reproduced with permission from Jamie Jo Wright. All rights reserved

Jaime Jo Wright — Author of The Vanishing at Castle Moreau
The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

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 about Jamie click on any of the following links: (& check out her Podcast – MadLit Musings!)
BookBub – @JaimeJoWright
Instagram – @JaimeJoWright
Twitter – @JaimeJoWright
Facebook – @JaimeJoWright

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The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

Tour Participants:

04/03 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
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04/21 Showcase & Podcast reading of the excerpt @ Books to the Ceiling
04/22 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
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Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery



The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. Amazon #1 bestseller

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Wendy B

    Oh my gosh, so many things that I loved about this guest post! Thank you!

  2. Jaime Wright

    Thank you so much for featuring The Vanishing at Castle Moreau!!

  3. Thank you for sharing such a thriller after finishing my book I am surely going to read this book.

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