At this point, you already know that I love historical fiction, and especially novels with strong female protagonists. There were many periods in history (most periods, actually), when women were expected to be coy, meek, and generally silent in all things. I love to experience stories in which women do not meet those expectations -- and Jessica Estevao's Whispers Beyond the Veil is one of those stories. This novel takes place at the very end of the 19th century, at a seaside resort town in Maine. Ruby Proulx is a victim of her father's crimes. Since childhood, he has carted her from town to town, selling his "medical miracles" and forcing her to take part in his schemes. When one of his miracle demonstrations goes horribly wrong, Ruby is forced to flee. Ruby finds herself traveling to the seaside town of Old Orchard, Maine, where her Aunt Honoria is opening a new hotel geared towards believers in the spiritual realm.
Ruby is welcomed by her aunt, and is grateful to take up a role in running the hotel but before the season can truly begin, tragedy strikes. Not only is the hotel's future and Honoria's reputation in danger, but Ruby fears her past role in her father's schemes will catch up to her. She takes it upon herself to investigate the crime. The Spiritualists' beliefs in otherworldly powers and an ghostly realm were in contrast with the Victorian propriety expected of the characters. I certainly enjoyed the mystery element too, and the book reminded me of Cat Winter's In the Shadow of Blackbirds and Deanna Raybourn's A Curious Beginning (review here). Recommended for readers who enjoy historical fiction with a touch of the supernatural. This novel is the first in a series that I'll certainly be following in the future.
Bottom-Line Rating: 4/5
Title: Whispers Beyond the Veil (A Change of Fortune Mystery #1)
Author: Jessica Estevao
Publisher: Berkley, 2016
Price: $10 on Amazon
Source: Public Library