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December 6, 2023

Veil of Doubt by Sharon Virts ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

When a mother is charged with murder in a town already convinced of her guilt, can defense attorney Powell Harrison find truth and justice in a legal system where innocence is not presumed? 

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book cover of historical thriller Veil of Doubt by Sharon Virts
October 2023; Girl Friday Books; 978-1959411444
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); historical thriller

This novel takes place in a small town in Virginia after the end of the Civil War.  It's a very well-written and well-researched novel based on the trial of Emily Lloyd who was charged with poisoning her three-year-old daughter and also implicated in the deaths of her husband and her other three children.  The people of the town were sure that she was guilty and were surprised when Powell Harrison, a soft-spoken, brilliant attorney who recently returned to his Virginia hometown was irresistibly drawn to the case.  This book is part true-crime thriller, part medical and legal procedural.

As Emily's three-year-old daughter is dying, she is sitting by her bed distraught.  When the doctor made a house call, she insisted that she had only given her daughter the medicine that he had told her to use but the doctor with him is immediately concerned and voices his concerns to the town sheriff.  When Emily is questioned, her answers are inconsistent so she's arrested and goes to trial.  The people of the town turn out full force at the trial to see her found guilty as they all assume she is.  Her attorney is convinced that she's innocent and investigates even the smallest situations that will help prove her innocence.  Her demeanor at the trial was also very inconsistent.  Normally she just sat with eyes downcast until one day she showed up in a very risqué dress and seemed to have no reason for her change.  Will her attorney be successful in proving her innocence and explaining her inconsistent behavior?

It's apparent while reading the book that the author had done extensive research - not only on the true story but also on the prejudice of the town toward the young widow and all of the behind-the-scenes situations that occurred at the trial.  I was quite surprised at some of the corruption that occurred during the trial as each lawyer knew that winning a trial of this type would increase their popularity with the town.

Be sure to read the author's notes at the back of the book where she discusses the real people that the book is based on and her opinion of the guilt/innocence of Emily Lloyd.

Buy Veil of Doubt at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   

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