Behind the Veil – Kirkus Review

Text; “An old fashioned ghost story told with inventiveness and style.” Kirkus Reviews. Behind the Veil, out October 1 2021, ejdawson.dom, background image a hand and vague shape of a face.

“A tormented medium takes on a difficult case in this supernatural novel.

In 1920s Los Angeles, the spiritualist movement is in full swing. Parents and widows of soldiers who died in World War I are still looking for closure, and medium Letitia Hawking is there to deliver it. Letitia uses her “scrying bowl” to view the deathbed moments of the deceased, offering accounts of their final thoughts to the bereaved and bringing them the peace she cannot find for herself. She wears a black veil during her readings to increase the sense of mystery—and to hide her identity from anyone who might recognize her from her past in London. When she’s approached by the wealthy lawyer Alasdair Driscoll about a case involving his still living young niece, Finola, the medium initially declines. Driscoll wants Letitia to sign a confidentiality agreement before they begin, and she can sense a shadow looming behind him. “She didn’t need the Driscolls’ ghosts,” she thinks. “She had enough of her own.” Then Letitia learns just what’s wrong with Finola: The girl is haunted by phantoms, and if she isn’t helped, she will end up in an asylum. Letitia takes pity on the girl—whose condition has much in common with the medium’s own—and begins to have feelings for Driscoll as well. But can Letitia help the living without someone ending up dead? Dawson’s prose is measured and suspenseful as she slowly unspools the tale: “Finola’s breathing was labored, her eyes twitching beneath her lids and forehead clammy, with threads of auburn hair sticking to her skin….There was no darkness attached to the girl, though the room’s low light gave too many shadows for Letitia’s liking. Ever wary of self-protection, she took hesitant footsteps closer.” The author is adept at selling not only the novel’s supernatural elements, but the historical era as well. She takes her time building the characters and the world around them, which pays dividends once the really spooky stuff starts to happen. Like all good ghost stories, the true horrors aren’t entirely spectral: The characters are haunted by personal traumas and secrets as frightening as any spirit. An old-fashioned ghost story told with inventiveness and style.” – Kirkus Reviews

I spent months dreading this review, and couldn’t be more delighted how wrong my fears were. Of waiting with nail biting terror for what Kirkus would say about my book. On a day to day basis we shouldn’t care what other people think about us, but this was so different. I wanted my book to be well received. On a deep level I knew I’d written a good story – but I can’t change someone else’s opinion. I was so stunned by their review I asked several professionals if I was reading it correctly and then promptly burst into the happiest of tears.

This Kirkus review is why I’m glad I’m a writer. But so are all the other reviews I’ve been receiving on Goodreads and Netgalley, and I’m thrilled to be able to share them with you;

“This has me hooked from the first page! It literally jumps in with a haunting tale.” – Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

“I had a ton of fun reading this. The writing was atmospheric and gothic and I really loved our main character. The cover caught my eye scrolling through Netgalley, and after reading the synopsis thought to give it a try and I’m SO GLAD I did.” – Netgalley Reviewer, 4 stars

“I ADORED this. My favourite books are typically fantasy or sci-fi, but I was thrilled with Behind the Veil for everything it is. As a work of historical fiction it was insightful, the setting felt real and immersive, but it was Mr Driscoll and Ms Hawking’s growing affections that kept me glued to the pages.” – Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

“If you do like supernatural horror and hadn’t seen a well done spirit/medium horror novel in a while, this one is for you!” – Netgalley Reviewer, 5 stars

“Suspense, mystery, thrills, horror, supernatural. The writing is wonderfully gothic and atmospheric, drawing the reader in instantly. It’s a beautiful tale of darkness and exactly what I wanted for this time of year. 4.5 chilling stars!” – Netgalley Reviewer, 4 stars

This story… I really enjoyed the story. Such intricacy with the characters, the descriptions of, not only the settings but what was happening “behind the veil.” Letitia herself is a complex person with flaws and insecurities, about her past and her abilities. Alasdair starts out a rude and seemingly demanding man, yet over the chapters turns out to be more than that.” – Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

“The story… take(s) the reader on a terrifying journey to the other side to catch a villainous murderer while our physic’s life is always in great jeopardy. This was a really good book. It was much more involved then I thought it would be and kept me reading until the late hours. Strongly recommend to anyone who is interested in Spiritualism, psychic mediums or just likes a really good ghost story. 5 stars!” – Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

“As a horror story, the book does very well and balances atmosphere with action, and is suitable for newbie horror readers. The author didn’t opt for explicit gore even though she could have done it. I appreciate this move and it made the book a better read.” – Netgalley Reviewer, 4 stars.

There are many more I could add but mostly I want to say thank you. I was not expecting so many people stating this was the kind of horror story they were longing for, that they loved the characters, and they got what they wanted out of the story. That it gave them everything I wanted to give to the readers.

If you’d like to get your hands on it, we still have a few weeks to the launch but you can find your preferred reviewing service or bookshop through my website, so please pre-order a copy today!

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