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Behind the Veil by E.J. Dawson #BookReview

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

Behind the Veil by E.J. Dawson

Title: Behind the Veil | Author: E.J. Dawson | Publisher: Literary Wanderlust | Pub Date: 01/10/2021 | Pages: 292 | ISBN13: 978-1942856887 | Genre: paranormal horror | Language: English | Source: NetGalley | Starred Review

Behind the Veil Review

Behind the Veil treats readers to some rich world-building. The author immerses readers in the post-war lives of Americans in Los Angeles in the 1920s. It’s a time for optimism, but also a time of change, and that resonates in the pages in multiple ways. The author draws from real-world events, such as the Spanish Flu, to inform the story, making it feel anchored. Dawson also draws on the sentiments of the era, using attitudes about people with psychic gifts to create real tension for Letitia. 

One thing that stands out in Behind the Veil is the author’s efforts to develop rich characters. Both Letitia and Alasdair have rich backstories that are both plausible and compelling. It’s easy to accept their motivations and actions because of the painstaking character development. It was also easy to like them. They’re both flawed, but driven by good intentions, making it easy to champion their causes. And when their objectives were at odds, it was tough to know who to root for. 

It was, perhaps, a little tougher to accept Abby at times because we didn’t know her as well, and sometimes she seemed to react unpredictably. With Letitia, there was the sense of a strong woman who was not caught up in all of the gender conventions of her time; she was as tough as any man and capable of confronting trauma and taking care of herself. However, with Abby, it seemed like the slightest thing turned her into an irrational woman in need of her smelling salts. 

This is a historical paranormal horror story with a criminal investigation and romance. Dawson shows her skill at weaving multiple genres together, which isn’t always easy to do. Dawson strikes me as an author with tremendous potential and I look forward to seeing her grow in her craft. The thing with this story, for me, was that it lingered on my brain for days after I finished. To me, that tells me the author did a great job of building a compelling world and telling an engaging story with characters that feel real. 

You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. It can be found here at Indiebound or at Bookshop. Please note the Bookshop link is an affiliate link and each purchase you make through it helps to support Sci-Fi & Scary and keep the site running.


Miscarriages, Child Death, Sexual Assault (referenced, not shown)


NetGalley arcs are unedited review copies. This arc had an issue with a repeating chapter and some other technical mistakes, but they have no bearing on this review as these issues are typically addressed before publication.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

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