The Devil and Mrs. Davenport

Paulette Kennedy

Lake Union , 2024

Agent: Jill Marr

The bestselling author of The Witch of Tin Mountain and Parting the Veil mines the subtle horrors of 1950s America in a gripping novel about a woman under pressure from the living and the dead.

The first day of autumn brought the fever, and with the fever came the voices.

Missouri, 1955. Loretta Davenport has led an isolated life as a young mother and a wife to Pete, an ambitious assistant professor at a Bible college. They’re the picture of domestic tranquility?until a local girl is murdered and Loretta begins receiving messages from beyond. Pete dismisses them as delusions of a fevered female imagination. Loretta knows they’re real?and frightening.

Defying Pete’s demands, Loretta finds an encouraging supporter in parapsychologist Dr. Curtis Hansen. He sees a woman with a rare gift, more blessing than curse. With Dr. Hansen’s help, Loretta’s life opens up to an empowering new purpose. But for Pete, the God-fearing image he’s worked so hard to cultivate is under threat. No longer in control of his dutiful wife, he sees the Devil at work.

As Loretta’s powers grow stronger and the pleading spirits beckon, Pete is determined to deliver his wife from evil. To solve the mysteries of the dead, Loretta must first save herself.


Paulette Kennedy is the rare species of author who somehow manages to outdo herself with each new book. It seems like a cliché to describe THE DEVIL AND MRS. DAVENPORT as “haunting,” and yet this book has undeniably haunted me—with its eerie imagery, its taut mystery, and unrelenting danger that crescendos below an outwardly perfect midcentury American life. A must-read for Shirley Jackson fans! - Olivia Hawker, bestselling author of October in the Earth


“I love a good gothic novel and this one hit the mark on page one. With echoes of Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier, plus a touch of the supernatural, gothic readers will devour this one. The writing flowed, tension was on every page, and I held my breath through the last quarter of the book. A great story about personal empowerment and discovery of self. I thoroughly enjoyed.” - Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author


"Powerful, poignant, and soul-stirring, The Devil and Mrs. Davenport will haunt you with its chilling supernatural phenomena and claustrophobic domesticity, Paulette Kennedy brilliantly explores the limits of forgiveness while centering deep and compassionate love. You'll weep and cheer for Loretta as she fights a truly terrifying evil. This is a book to treasure!" -Jennifer Sherman Roberts, author of The Village Healer's Book of Cures


"Mesmerizing from start to finish! Paulette Kennedy delivers suspense, empathy, compassion, resilience, and just a hint of the paranormal in a way that keeps the reader guessing until the last page."—Mansi Shah, bestselling author of The Direction of the Wind 


"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!” - Samantha Greene Woodruff, Bestselling author of The Lobotomist’s Wife



"Paulette Kennedy has quickly become one of my go-to authors for suspenseful stories that creep into one's imagination. 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. I could not put this book down and I can't wait until Paulette Kennedy takes us on another adventure." --Rosanna Leo, author of the Darke Paranormal Investigations series 


"Compelling and unique, THE DEVIL AND MRS. DAVENPORT is a powerful tribute to the enduring strength and resilience of women in the face of misogyny. With both domestic thriller and gothic elements, Kennedy masterfully weaves a beautifully layered, visceral novel that readers won’t be able to put down." --Erin Litteken, internationally bestselling author of The Memory Keeper of Kyiv and The Lost Daughters of Ukraine


"THE DEVIL AND MRS. DAVENPORT is a heart-wrenching, skin-creeping mid century Gothic with a heroine you can’t help but love and root for. The ghostly goings-on unsettle, as do the insidious tendrils of infuriating, undermining misogyny and hypocrisy that writhe through every crack in Loretta’s world—but, crucially, a sense of determined strength and hope are just as palpable. Paulette Kennedy vividly renders not just distinct times and places but magnetic people, and I’m always eager to read what she writes next." --Jen Wheeler, author of The Light on Farallon Island


“Paulette Kennedy crafts a story crackling with suspense and mystery, a creeping sense of unease, and a raw look at misogyny and mental health. The Devil and Mrs Davenport is everything the domestic gothic should be and more.” - Marielle Thompson, author of Where Ivy Dares to Grow


"The Devil and Mrs. Davenport is a page-turning, twisty 1950s gothic with poignant feminist themes and tense paranormal elements. Un-putdownable!" - Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Dangerous Education


"The Devil and Mrs. Davenport left me speechless. If you like stories that hold on to you until the last breathless page, then look no further. This story isn’t just a home run—it’s a grand slam!” -- Andie Newton, USA Today bestselling author of A Child for the Reich


"A spellbinding mystery that crackles with suspense, The Devil and Mrs. Davenport cements Paulette Kennedy as one of the most exciting new voices in gothic fiction. I was enthralled from the very first page. Skillfully plotted and masterfully paced, you'll want to savor every word."-- Susan Walter, best-selling author of Good as Dead and Lie by the Pool

"Shirley Jackson fans will appreciate this novel with a distinct vintage vibe; readers of gothic and supernatural titles will be drawn by the book's feminist empowerment narrative." Library Journal

“With a mystery that steadily builds, this gothic novel masterfully captures the horrors and sexism of 1950s suburbia. A bewitching page-turner with author Kennedy's signature: a strong heroine who cleverly navigates twist after twist.” Booklist 

“Any reader who is looking for a two-day page-turner would be right to pick up this book. They won’t put it down until the last page.” New York Journal of Books

“This story of a 1950s housewife who can suddenly see and receive messages from the dead is so fascinating and compelling that it will be hard to put down. Loretta’s growing abilities and the cracking facade of her life are so well described. The author expertly begins to pull the curtain from Loretta’s marriage and show the truth—her husband is not perfect, and is, in fact, abusive. The combination of a bad marriage and explosive new psychic abilities makes this book shine… This is a satisfying mix of historical mystery and paranormal fiction that fans of those genres will enjoy. Highly recommended.” – Historical Novels Review