The Curse of Misty Wayfair written by Jamie Jo Wright is a fictional mystery with added elements of faith; but is unlike what I typically select to read. Ghosts, insane asylums, curses… just not the themes I am usually drawn to. The cover alone is a very unique design for me to select. However, I knew immediately that I wanted to read the story, and I’ll be waiting with baited breath for Wright’s next book. (And probably grabbing her other books The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond and The House on Foster Hill too!) I was on the edge of my seat from the very first chapter, until the last.
Wright is a masterful storyteller and the writing itself is strong. Conversation, complicated characters, and even more complex relationships flow like real life. I love when the story itself leaves you completely enraptured and the writing itself is not a distraction. Wright’s writing is rich in vocabulary with clarity and focus, she writes with a strong voice and rhythm that keeps the reader hanging on to every detail, but also does not leave us behind while unwrapping the complicated plot.
Written with a dual timeline the story follows two main characters, Thea (1908) and Heidi (present day), and Wright transitions between the two time periods seamlessly. The setting is the same, The Northwoods of Wisconsin in Pleasant Valley. Tackling challenging issues like mental illness, community legends, and family history she has written a story, that in ways we may not want to admit to, we can all identify with. The story is complex, the characters deep, and the pull into the plot strong. Wright did an incredible job of seamlessly weaving in and out of each characters’ experience in the same physical place at different times in history.
The mystery is elaborate and with each passing page Wright reveals just bits and pieces to help the reader make sense of the story. What I love about this is that as Thea and Heidi are unearthing their own stories you as the reader are connecting them (or trying to) and learning alongside them. They had the some of the same inward thoughts, and were even inclined to men who were a bit alike. As your brain and heart long to connect all the details of the story Wright brings you along on the journey while integrating steady bits of faith and identity.
The story is enrapturing from beginning to end and isn’t complete until you turn the last page. Bravo!
Thanks to Bethany House Publishing, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.