From the back cover:
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 theI threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?
The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Author Jaime Lee Wright has proven once again her ability to create two stories that are very similar but set in different centuries and she ties them together so that readers are left amazed but very satisfied with the connection in the end. The Curse of Misty Wayfair features two young women searching for answers about their families. Dorothea "Thea" Reed is an orphan hoping to learn who her mother is and she has the unusual job of traveling around the countryside to photograph people who have recently died. It is 1908 when she arrives in Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin and her whole life suddenly turns upside down. One hundred ten years later, in 2018, another young woman is also searching. Heidi Lane has always known who her parents are but she doesn't understand why she feels such a separation from them and her older sister. A cryptic note from her widowed mother sends Heidi to Point Pleasant and readers are drawn into this split-time story of two women, born a century apart, and their mutual connection to the legend surrounding the death of a young woman named Misty Wayfair.
I truly enjoy mystery and suspense and this book offers both. It also has a gothic feel and there are many times when I strongly felt the need for more lights when I was reading it at night! I have never believed in ghosts but there are incidents when the legend of Misty Wayfair haunting Pleasant Valley seemed almost credible. There are many scenes set around an insane asylum and the descriptions of the secluded location of this institution and the people who were sent there to live out their lives are both sad and haunting. There are also many times when violent acts threaten both Thea and Heidi and I could imagine the fear that they were feeling. Both of them, however, are blessed with the support of two strong men and although there is only the suggestion of romance, there are moments when you can envision Thea and Simeon and Heidi and Rhett finding happiness with each other.
Mental illness, anxiety issues and autism are a big part of the storyline of The Curse of Misty Wayfair and these conditions are treated with respect and understanding. The suggestions of dead spirits roaming in Pleasant Valley and Thea and Heidi's attempts to prove/disprove them are buffered by the strong religious beliefs that Simeon Coyle and Rhett Crawford possess. When Thea and Heidi experience feelings of being unworthy and unloved they are offered assurance of their value as a child of God. In one beautiful passage Thea concludes that "Maybe Simeon was right! That ceasing to uncover one's purpose, but instead finding out who one's Creator was, would be the most satisfying story of all to uncover". She was discovering what Simeon already knew; it is Our Heavenly Father, our Creator, who designed all of us in His image and it is through Him that true acceptance and happiness can be found!
There is absolutely nothing that I disliked about The Curse of Misty Wayfair! This is an exceptional book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery suspence and Christian fiction.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher and was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.
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