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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Curtain Lady by Andrea Shepherd is a coming-of-age tale with paranormal overtones. Set throughout the 1980s in Montreal, the book chronicles the story of a young girl named Poppy Bell from age eleven to her early twenties. Since sixth grade, Poppy started keeping a diary where she notes her everyday life. Haunted by nightmares and someone she calls the Curtain Lady, Poppy spends her days with her best friend, Chantal, and dearly misses her deceased father. As she slowly grows into her teens, Poppy develops an interest in boys, but her romantic endeavors always turn disastrous. Additionally, she indulges in alcohol and drugs while spending the nights in sleep paralysis, visited by shadow people. Years later, after Chantal returns to Montreal, Poppy moves in with her in an apartment, and they continue their adventures. But will she ever stop having nightmares?
Andrea Shepherd's coming-of-age tale is full of heartbreak, mystery, and a healthy dose of the supernatural. The Curtain Lady is a moving story about growing up, first loves, friendships, and mistakes we all make in our younger years. There is a uniquely nostalgic fervor to the narrative. It takes you back to the 80s with a colorful assortment of characters, some of whom you will love, while others you may loathe. The story is told through a first-person perspective in the form of a diary written by the protagonist, Poppy, and this brings a certain intimacy to the tale that makes you relate to her. Among all her relationships, Poppy and Chantal's friendship was the book's highlight for me. Overall, I very much enjoyed the book, and if you're a fan of coming-of-age tales, you shouldn't miss out on this one!