Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: These Shallow Graves

These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Random House Delacorte

Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

“The truth can be a hard thing, Jo. It’s often best left hidden,” Phillip said quietly.

“An uneasiness had descended on her, as cold and ominous as a winter night.” 

“Eddie didn’t spare her. He made her work. He made her think. It was not what she was used to from a man, and she liked it.” 

“The moment a girl learned how to talk, she was told not to.”
Be still my heart. I LOVED this book so much. I just finished reading it less than 24 hours ago, and I wish I could start it all over again today. The characters will leave you feeling like you know them and you know their innermost thoughts, desires, and you even share their secrets. This story put me in the perfect mood for Halloween; it was creepy in parts, suspenseful, and completely mysterious. The entire mystery got larger and larger as the story progressed. Jo Montfort, short for Josephine, was the most successful written character by far. She made this story worth reading; her bravery and willingness to defy gender roles makes her a fine role model in my book. She was written so well that I hated to see her go once I had finished reading.

The mystery was the sole focus of this story. I love authors that allow their stories to be mystery-driven but still include enough romance to keep readers invested in the characters and their lives. Jo is interested in a man that society will not have her marry, nor her mother and uncle. However, Jo cannot help what her heart feels and who it loves and desires. Jo was so quick to defy what was expected of her; she wished to work and write, which are not activities that women of her class should concern themselves with. What I loved most about her is that after she found out about her father’s death, she was determined to find answers, no matter the limits that were placed upon her. This story was beautifully told on so many levels. I cannot stress to you all enough how much you need this book in your lives!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Delacorte Press in exchange for my honest review***

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