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The Devil and Mrs. Davenport

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Member Reviews

Compelling, unique, and powerful! I loved everything about this novel from the ghostly elements to the thriller storyline to the fascinating and important dive into the life of a housewife in the 1950's. Very entertaining and it left me thinking. Highly recommend!

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I'd selected this book purely on a skim read of the synopsis where it mentioned the subtle horrors of the 1950s America, Murder and Spirits of the Dead. I've not really read any supernatural / thriller / drama style books before but I really enjoyed this one, albiet I'm not sure whether the tension came from my own anxious reading style. To be honest I also really liked the cover too...

Of course as Paulette discloses there are mentions of era-specific terminology and events which she released a trigger warning for so be mindful if any of that isn't for you. Having said that, I did have major rage against Pete throughout the entire thing which is props to Kennedy's writing about men in the 1950's (or some if you read the book).

(Maybe spoilers) The ending did feel like it came to a close really quickly but I was almost grateful that it was wrapped up in a way you would hope. Another thing is there's a brief mention about Charlotte and Lucas having the same gift and I kind of hoped that was discussed a bit more, or about Lucas' drawings.

Overall I really enjoyed it, great pace and characters too!

Thank you to Netgallery, the Publisher and the Author for this free advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time in exchange for a review. It didn't disappoint! Must read!!

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LOVEDDDDD this book so much. I had been in a reading slump, chose a read now book, had zero expectations from it and was absolutely blown away. I read it in a day and stayed up late to finish it. That hasn't happened in forever. I loved the Mrs Davenport having ESP and solving murders, it had just the right amount of suspense that kept me turning my kindle pages. I really wish this one came out sooner so I could tell everyone to read it ASAP.

The only thing I didn't like: In the first few pages there was some racism as there was some negative chatter about "colored" people. Maybe that was just to show Phyllis was an unlikable character, but that could have been done in other ways. Especially within the first few pages of the book, it almost was a turn off.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book "The Devil and Mrs Davenport" and all opinions expressed are my own. This was definitely a different type of story for sure. I found the story interesting, seeing the challenges that women faced in the 1950s. I just liked the whole story and how it developed.

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Terrific book! Kennedy expertly weaves historical fiction with metaphysical thriller to deliver a propulsive, riveting, genre-bending novel. THE DEVIL AND MRS. DAVENPORT explores the very real challenges many women in the 1950s faced to find their own voices, the sometimes-overwhelming power of religion, and the tragic state of mental health treatment in the era. Combine all that with a sprinkle of parapsychological magic, a dash of romance, and a sympathetic heroine I was rooting for from the very first page, and you have an unputdownable read sure to be a big hit. I devoured it in a day and was sad to see it end. Bravo!

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I absolutely loved this so much that I read the whole book in one day … Gripping , exciting, full of suspense… lots of twists and turns along the way… The best book I have read in a long, long time . Loved it!

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Summary: Loretta Davenport has visions which disorient and disturb her. As the wife of a Pentecostal professor at a strictly religious Bible school in 1950s America, she walks the line of the dutiful wife and mother of two. But all is not well in the Davenport household. Pete Davenport does not accept Loretta’s psychic abilities, and his authoritarian, controlling nature clashes with Loretta’s desire for more independence and autonomy. When the clarity of Loretta’s vision brings authorities directly to the burial site of a missing girl, Pete fears for his pious image and career ambitions. As tensions between Loretta and Pete come to a head, Loretta must decide who to trust and whether to listen to the spirits clamoring for her attention.

Thoughts: In this novel, Paulette Kennedy truly captures and conveys the restrictive social norms and patriarchal establishment of the 1950s. A young woman born and raised in modern society would hardly believe that just seventy years ago, women had virtually no independence or power. It was almost impossible to divorce or leave a miserable marriage, and a woman had no right to the children she had birthed and raised practically on her own. Loretta’s struggle is indeed heart-wrenching; and it is a testament to the author’s skill that I could feel such venomous hatred for a fictional character like Pete Davenport. Also frightening and surreal is the accurate depiction of the barbaric practices of psychiatric institutions during that period. The conclusion provides blessed relief for the emotional rollercoaster and the ending is more than satisfying. Well done, Paulette!

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4-4.5*

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a DRC of The Devil and Mrs. Davenport (released March 2024) in exchange for my honest and voluntary review.

CW domestic and emotional abuse, marital r*pe, abortion

Missouri in 1955 and Loretta Davenport is stuck in her claustrophobic life as a housewife and mother however, following the disappearance of a teenage girl she starts having visions and ghostly visitations which opens up her world and opens her eyes to the life she is being forced to live by her controlling and domineering husband.

This was a tough but absorbing and intriguing read. A suburban, gothic, paranormal thriller that touches on multiple difficult subjects, most notably the lack of agency of women during that time period and their forced reliance on the men in their lives. In the case of Loretta this results in horrific experiences and being forced to ultimately live a life of deceit in order to try and avoid the violent wrath of her controlling, alcoholic husband, Pete.

I really enjoyed the multiple genres that this book touched on. It's historical fiction but also a domestic thriller, a paranormal thriller and a political thriller all tied up together and the mix works. The paranormal elements don't feel out of place and combined with the other elements really make you question throughout who is The Devil that Mrs Davenport has to face and there is no one right answer because of all the issues we, as readers, are made to face throughout the course of the book.

Readers of Daphne du Maurier I think will like the style of this book. It's a gothic world transplanted to US 1950s suburbia with a determined lead character who is a victim of the circumstances she is stuck in (that of being under the thumb of a deeply patriarchal society), but who wants to change that and live a better and more fulfilling life to then pass that on to her children. It's wonderful to see her grow throughout this book and see her character flourish as she grows in confidence, step by step, supported to the end by a small group who she has to keep hidden but who allow her to be the person she wants and should be.

The murders that are touched on in this book are the catalyst for events rather than being the full driving force. This isn't a murder mystery per say but the touches of it do lead to a very satisfying conclusion but it is a rocky road to get there and makes for tough reading at times.

I think this one will sit with me for a while and I think I will need to come back to again in the future to be able to truly appreciate the more nuanced elements related to societal commentary that the author is making.

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I WISH we could do .5 and .75 for ratings, because I give this a 3.75 (not a 3!).

Loretta has visions and knows things about people. And it's the 1950s. And that isn't cool - especially if your husband is a professor at the local Bible college.

But perhaps Pete isn't all he makes out to be.

Part thriller, part subtle political commentary on the historical treatment of women, The Devil and Mrs. Davenport engages on many levels. Driven by the unsolved murder of two young women in Myrtle Grove, and the desire to escape her claustrophobic life, Loretta sets out to emancipate both herself and the souls of the lost.

Loretta has visions and knows things about people. And it's the 1950s. And that isn't cool - especially if your husband is a professor at the local Bible college.

But perhaps Pete isn't all he makes out to be.

Part thriller, part subtle political commentary on the historical treatment of women, The Devil and Mrs. Davenport engages on many levels. Driven by the unsolved murder of two young women in Myrtle Grove, and the desire to escape her claustrophobic life, Loretta sets out to emancipate both herself and the souls of the lost.

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"The Devil and Mrs. Davenport" by Paulette Kennedy is a haunting and atmospheric novel that blends elements of suspense, the supernatural, and women's fiction into a gripping tale set in 1950s America.

The story follows Loretta Davenport, a young mother and wife to Pete, an ambitious assistant professor at a Bible college. Their life seems peaceful until a local girl is murdered, and Loretta starts hearing voices and receiving messages from beyond the grave. Pete dismisses these experiences as figments of her imagination, but Loretta is convinced they are real and significant. Her encounter with parapsychologist Dr. Curtis Hansen provides her with validation and guidance, opening up a world of possibilities she had never imagined.

The novel beautifully explores the challenges faced by women in the 1950s, particularly those who were expected to conform to societal norms and be subservient to their husbands. Loretta's journey from a passive and isolated housewife to a woman with newfound purpose and strength is at the heart of the narrative. Her struggle for autonomy and her determination to embrace her unique abilities are inspiring and relatable.

Kennedy's writing is atmospheric and evocative, creating a sense of unease and mystery that lingers throughout the story. The depiction of small-town Missouri in the 1950s is vivid and immersive, adding to the overall sense of time and place.

The character development in the novel is exceptional, particularly in the case of Loretta, who undergoes a profound transformation. The conflict between her and Pete, driven by his fear of losing control, adds tension to the narrative and highlights the societal expectations of the era.

As the story unfolds, it becomes a thrilling exploration of the supernatural, with a touch of psychological horror. The author skillfully weaves together the themes of faith, doubt, and the power of the unknown to create a gripping and thought-provoking narrative.

In "The Devil and Mrs. Davenport," Paulette Kennedy delivers a spellbinding tale of a woman's journey to self-discovery and empowerment in the face of societal constraints and the supernatural. It's a book that will resonate with readers who appreciate historical fiction with a touch of the uncanny and a strong feminist message. Kennedy's storytelling prowess shines through, making this novel a must-read for fans of suspenseful and thought-provoking fiction.

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This new to me author nailed it right from the start.
Loretta Davenport is a housewive and mother of two in the 1950s.
Dependend on her husband she's caught up in everyday life when a drastic change happens to her.
A change that leads her on a journey, painful, restricting, bringing her in contact with parapsychology.
An intriguing read that I couldn't put down. This one's a winner imo.

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The Devil and Mrs. Davenport

Genre: domestic gothic paranormal/suspense set in the 1950s in Missouri.

The moment I started reading, I knew that there was something not right under the surface of this story of a seemingly normal housewife and her domestic setup.

Loretta Davenport has a lovely home, a husband who is a professor at the local college, and two lovely children. Yet something ails her; something is happening to her, and she can't quite explain it, without being thought of as crazy.

She begins to sense dead people, experiencing what they did in life and before they died. She confides in her husband, Pete, who thinks it's evil and demonic, and urges her to involve herself in her faith and in church activities more.

Loretta secretly contacts a parapsychologist who not only believes her, but also helps and guides her to develop her gift in the right direction. Soon, she is helping the police to solve murder investigations, unbeknownst to her husband and her snoopy neighbours.

When her husband finds out, he suspects that she is having an affair with the parapsychologist, and he manages to have her committed to an insane asylum, but not before trying to get his priest to exorcise the demons from her!

While she's in there, she discovers the terrible truth about a murder she's been investigating, and realizes how close to home the murderer is. Will she be able to escape, prove that she's not insane, and help to have the murderer arrested? Read it to find out!

The book started out a bit slow, but picked up soon enough, and then, we were off and running!

As you probably already know, the 1950s were messed up, with many women having to be dependent on their husbands for every little thing. They had no financial freedom, and were subjected to all kinds of sometimes blatant and other times subtle abuse. It's difficult to read those parts of the book, especially when you can see that her husband is such a Class A so-and-so. Most of the other men were no different or better, and it's disturbing to have to imagine what women had to endure because of the times they were living in.

I was not sure what I was expecting from this book, because the cover does not give away much either, but I was pleasantly surprised, and enjoyed it thoroughly, especially because of the paranormal elements!

Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Absolutely fantastic plot! Could not put the book down once I began reading it. Cannot wait for it to be released. I will recommend it to everyone I know!

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This book had me sucked in from page 1! It’s an emotional read. I got mad, sad and excited. I didn’t want to end! Easily my favorite read of the year!! I can’t wait until it’s published and I can buy it and reread it again and again.

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I loved THE DEVIL AND MRS. DAVENPORT. The author does a fabulous job of evoking an eerie and suspenseful atmosphere. It's genius to set this story in the 1950s, and the time period works well to convey the struggles against the patriarchy. Loretta is a wonderful main character, and her husband Pete, while a one-dimensional villain at times, serves as a nice counterfoil. We are cheering for Loretta along the way and anxious to see what will happen next. I loved how Kennedy combines the domestic and the paranormal, and the ending provides a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading more from this author.

I received a complimentary e-galley from the publisher in exchange for my review; all opinions are my own.

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The Devil and Mrs. Davenport is hands down one of my favorites books of the year. Kennedy's masterful use of gothic dread weaves a compelling tale that wouldn't let me go. Loretta (Mrs. Davenport) is a sympathetic heroine, a likable young woman who married young and "did what she was supposed to" all her life and leads what on the surface seems to be the perfect suburban 1950s life. But the moment she wakes up able to communicate with the dead, her "perfect" life begins to unravel, revealing cracks in the veneer and exposing the twisted truth beneath her "perfect" life. I could not put this book down and raced my way to the end needing to know if Loretta would be able to save herself and her children. Would totally recommend to anyone who loves their gothic stories with elements of mystery, suspense and romance woven in.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Kindle ARC. The Devil and Mrs. Davenport is the type of book I'd typically read but it seemed interesting and I wanted to give it a try. The book can be described as historical fiction/paranormal fiction - to a certain extent - and general fiction. It was a mix of all of them. The story begins in the mid-50's with Loretta and Pete, a young married couple with two children. The time period Loretta is living in ascertains to the idea that a married woman is her husband's property. He must sign to allow her access to the bank account, only he can give permission for her to work. In Loretta's case, the situation is worse, Pete is a religious fanatic and teaches religious studies at a small college. He is ill-tempered and demanding. Loretta discovers she has a "gift" for seeing things that have happened to people and Pete is determined to prove she belongs in an institution. There is an aspect of paranormal/parapsychology in the story but the most terrifying part of it is the abuse and control that Pete inflicts on his wife. For anyone who has lived in a house with domestic abuse, it hits very close to home. I recommend The Devil and Mrs. Davenport to anyone who enjoys a bit of the psychic or paranormal and anyone who wants to see how some things have changed for the better since the 1950's.

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Paulette Kennedy has quickly become one of my go-to authors for suspenseful stories that creep into one's imagination. Even in the first few pages of The Devil and Mrs. Davenport, Kennedy's worldbuilding is excellent and it only gets better from there. The reader is immediately drawn into the world of 1950s housewife Loretta, her husband Pete and their two adorable children. But things are not as idyllic as they seem. Loretta sees things that shouldn't be there. A religious man, Pete is quick to chide Loretta for her devilish delusions. However, when Loretta makes the connection between her visions and a dead girl from their town, it becomes clear there is more at work than a fanciful temperament. I could not put this book down and I can't wait until Paulette Kennedy takes us on another adventure.

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Thank you to Net Galley for my ARC!
This story follows Loretta, a stay at home mother with 2 children. Loretta is trying to navigate being in a controlling marriage while experiencing visions from those who have passed. She tries to use her newly found abilities to solve past murders while keeping all this form her husband. The characters in this story were well developed and i found this book to be a quick read.

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