Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Pages: 496
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery
Pub. Date: October 27, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: A Northern Light
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Josephine Montfort has her life planned for her. She's to marry Bram Aldrich, have his babies, and live an easy life as an American aristocrat.  Her world is thrown upside down when her father dies while cleaning his gun. The authorities say it was an accident, but Josephine, or Jo, knows that her father is a sportsman and would never make a mistake that tragic. Something is definitely amiss.  Jo risks her own comfortable future and her reputation to figure out what exactly happened to her father. With the help of a reporter, Eddie Gallagher, she is starting to uncover the truth regarding her family's business. Maybe things aren't as perfect as they seem for her family and as she uncovers more clues, she realizes that it points to the fact that her father was accidental after all.  Jennifer Donnelly's These Shallow Graves combines a great mixture of historical fiction, mystery, romance and spooky elements that make it a perfect read for this time of year.

Jo is the kind of character I love in These Shallow Graves. She's a nonconformist and she's a go-getter. She really determined to figure out what happened to her father and isn't content sitting in someone's parlor discussing mind numbing things while having tea.  Despite her mother and family's disapproval, she is a different kind of girl and the more they try to reign her in, the worse it gets. With the help of her maid, she sneaks out to gather clues about what truly happened to her father and she also meets up with Eddie Gallagher, the reporter who promised to help her.

Jo should love Bram, the guy that everyone says she'll marry; after all, he is pretty much perfect and they have been friends for years, but the more time Jo spends with Eddie, the more she is questioning her path in life.  She works closely with Eddie in These Shallow Graves and in turn, she realizes that she has feelings for him, but how could they possibly have any future together as their worlds are so very different?  My only gripe was their romance. I didn't feel it as much as I was hoping; I expected there to be a bit more chemistry there.

These Shallow Graves is filled will a lot of adventure and a murder mystery that is slowly uncovered. Even though I figured out who the bad guy was close to the beginning, I still enjoyed following Jo's journey through the dangerous streets of New York City.  I thought Donnelly did a great job presenting the Gilded Age as well as the vast differences between the wealthy and the poor.  

Jennifer Donnelly's historical fiction novels are some of my favorites and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. So, if you are looking for an atmospheric murder mystery to curl up with this fall, definitely check out These Shallow Graves.



13 comments:

  1. I'm bummed about the romance Christina, that's always my favorite part so it's disappointing to know the chemistry was lacking a bit for you in this one. I'm definitely in a murder mystery mood though, so maybe I'll give this one a try still. Thanks for your thoughts!!!

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    1. Even though I figured out the killer early on, the story was still worth it and well written...definitely prefer Donnelly's historical fiction to her fantasy/mermaid series. Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  2. I have a copy of this one and haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Great review. I love the sounds of the mystery and historical aspects.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

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    1. The mystery plus the historical details were fantastic. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for visiting, Cassi.

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  3. This sounds like a GREAT fall read, Christina! I am definitely looking forward to Along the Infinite Sea, as well; hope you're enjoying it!!

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    1. It was the perfect read for the fall. I am enjoying Along the Infinite Sea so far. Thanks for visiting, Tara!

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  4. Nice review! I really liked this one even though I figured out who the killer was right away too. I liked the characters and the setting. The main character reminded me of an American version of Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. I was also reminded of The Luxe a little bit because of the Gilded Age setting and the difficult romance between the rich girl and the poor boy. I wouldn't mind more books following Jo and Eddie as reporters in New York!

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    1. Me too. The characters and the setting were a lot of fun. YES! You are so right about the Lady Sybil comparison. I agree, Christina! I definitely prefer Donnelly's historical fiction. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Donnelly is so good at the kind of slow-revealing mysteries. I've never really read the full synopsis of this book, so I'm glad to read your review.

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    1. Yes, you are definitely right about that. I prefer her historical novels over her mermaid series for sure. Thanks or visiting, Joy!

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  6. Glad to see you enjoyed this one, Christina! I was so excited to see Jennifer Donnelly write another historical fiction---I looooved Revolution. I need to get to this one soon.

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    1. Me too. Thoroughly enjoyed A Northern Light and Revolution. I think you'll like this one, Becky. Thanks for visiting.

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  7. Oh! Now I'm even more excited to read this book! I love a good mystery, and it sounds like this one will definitely keep me guessing. :) I can't wait to read it! Great review!

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I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

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