Title: The Curse of Misty Wayfair
Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Publisher: Bethany House
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 the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?
First things first, I’ve read Jaime Jo Wright’s previous two novels. Loved both of them, but The Curse of Misty Wayfair is my favorite. The split timeline is perfectly blended between past and present, each chapter bringing you more into the character’s lives and deeper into mystery. Heidi and Thea had a tangible presence, their essence so real I wanted to look up and carry on a conversation with each of them.
My favorite part…I can never figure out the who-done-it. I tried. I analyzed every conversation, agonized over every person, and I still couldn’t figure it out until mere chapters before the big reveal.
From the spiritual aspect, it’s a slow growing process, much like the characters’ growth. Heidi is used to running away when the going gets tough. Things like that don’t change overnight. The threads of spirituality and coming to know God needed time to spread, gently drawing Thea and Heidi toward their Creator.
The Curse of Misty Wayfair is told from Heidi and Thea’s perspectives, so we never hear directly from Simeon and Rhett. I seriously need to watch The Incredible Hulk after reading about Rhett. My only wish is that Rhett at some point would have done a ‘hulk-smash’.
Overall, a beautifully-layered story built on a foundation of God and hemmed with walls of mystery and romance.