Although it sounds like an oxymoron, this book really is an inspirational gothic novel! Find out why! #gothicnovel #inspy #amreading #BethanyHouse #netgalley #Wisconsin #historical #dualtime #victimsofabuse #hope #survivor #mystery #suspense

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

‘Inspirational Gothic Novel’ Sounds Like an Oxymoron

When I think of gothic novels, I think of Frankenstein or Dracula. So how can an author write an inspirational gothic novel? Gothic novels take place in moldering mansions, cold castles, or haunted houses, and they emphasize the fantastic, macabre, and otherworldly. An inspirational gothic novel has those same spine-tingling elements, but the protagonists rely on their faith (often feeble at the start of the novel) to confront their fears and the seemingly supernatural occurrences. Abigail Wilson has mastered the historical inspirational gothic novel genre, and Jaime Jo Wright writes the best dual-time inspirational gothic novels.

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

By Jaime Jo Wright, Bethany House, April 4, 2023, 384 pages.

Cleo Clemmons wonders why anyone would hire her—a woman without a proper identity and a past she wants to hide. But when she arrives in the small town near her new place of employment, she wonders why she took the job.

Sinister rumors of women mysteriously disappearing at Castle Moreau swirl around town. Someone leaves an old cassette tape with a mysterious interview on the hood of her car. And the elderly lady she was hired to assist acts normal at times and borderline violent at others. 

Cleo needs the money and a place to stay. When her handsome, enigmatic, and very wealthy employer shows up, Cleo wants to flee even more. But then she discovers the key to a century-old mystery.

In 1865, orphan Daisy Francois escapes her foster parents in answer to an advertisement for a housemaid. When she arrives, no one seems to know what to do with her, and no one seems willing to direct her duties in the understaffed Castle Moreau.

But the people of the nearby village have plenty to say about the women who enter the castle and never come out. They warn Daisy she’ll meet the same fate. But Daisy would rather face the terror of the unknown than the horror of her past.

The reclusive mistress of the castle writes horrific tales of suspense and murder. Daisy starts to wonder if the author plucked her graphic gothic tales from experience. But as Daisy and her mistress’s grandson develop an unlikely friendship, Daisy chooses to stay on. Despite the rumors and macabre discoveries.

What I Loved About This Book

Wright masterfully weaves a gothic tale in this dual-time suspense story. Readers will relate to the protagonists’ desire to escape their pasts and forge a future based on love and hope. Unconditional love from a heavenly father and hope for promised forgiveness and growth. Readers will have a difficult time setting the book aside for quotidian things like eating and sleeping.

You'll love this spine-tingling inspirational gothic novel from @jaimejowright and @bethany_house! #amreading #gothicnovel #cantputitdown Click To Tweet
Although it sounds like an oxymoron, this book really is an inspirational gothic novel! Find out why! #gothicnovel #inspy #amreading #BethanyHouse #netgalley #Wisconsin #historical #dualtime #victimsofabuse #hope #survivor #mystery #suspense


  1. Enjoyed your review. I have recently read a couple of books with the main character in foster care–or having been on the orphan train. Perhaps a trend in books?

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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