In "The Demon Lover," Bowen uses the war as a backdrop to the story and this contributes to the gloomy and depressing mood. Mrs Drover's family, for example, have left the house and moved to the country because of the danger posed by the Blitz. In addition, the mysterious letter that she receives evokes repressed memories of World War One. It is against this backdrop of wartime anxiety and chaos, then, that the reader is introduced to Mrs Drover.
Furthermore, Bowen uses foreshadowing to heighten the tense atmosphere of the story. One example comes just after Mrs Drover reads the letter:
Her reluctance to look again at the letter came from the fact that she felt intruded upon.
This foreshadows her meeting with the taxi driver in which she comes face to face with her broken promise. Bowen hints at this meeting again later on:
She heard nothing—but while she was hearing nothing the passé air of the staircase was disturbed.
This instance of foreshadowing not only builds the reader's suspense through its supernatural reference, but also adds to the tense and uncertain atmosphere of the story.