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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Beyond the Screen Door by Julia Diana Robertson, Nora Lee Sutter is a seven-year-old girl living in the small Washington State town of Hoquiam in 1945. She has been able to see spirits since she was four years old. That summer, Nora hasn't spoken in days and this baffled her pregnant mother, Peggy. A young spirit came to her five nights before with a warning. Unfortunately, the warning was dismissed and tragedy struck both Nora and her mother.
Told through Nora and her best friend Joanne ‘Jo’ Waterman’s perspectives, this fast paced paranormal story in the '40s is very intriguing and absorbing. Some writers make flashbacks confusing to readers, but this aspect is handled well by Robertson as the flashbacks are narrated as chapters and clearly stated with dates. In the seemingly slow life in the '40s, Robertson successfully grabbed my attention with the story of Nora, Jo, their family, friends, and the spirits that give away the secrets of the people living in the small town of Hoquiam. The characters are alive and their relationships felt real. Ballet teacher Marina's secret past was the one that stood out for me.
The chilling factor is substantial, the dialogue feels natural, and the prose is a breeze to read. On the whole, Beyond the Screen Door is enjoyable and this is a book that I can read again and again. I look forward to more stories with Nora, Jo, Betsy, and Peggy.