Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: These Shallow Graves

These Shallow Graves 
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Release date: October 27, 2015
Published by: Random House/Delacorte
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Josephine Montfort is part of the American aristocrat class in the late 1800's living in New York City. She has been raised to, and is expected to, not be too educated, to look her best at all times, be a sweet and quiet young woman, and above all...to marry very well. Then Jo's father accidentally shoots himself while locked in his study one night. Jo refuses to believe her father, who's an avid handler of guns, would ever do anything as careless as cleaning a gun while it's loaded begins to dig into whether what the coroner, police and family really found out the truth. With the help of a young reporter from her family's newspaper, she starts on a very unladylike path to finding out the truth no matter the costs, dangers or hurdles she must clear.

My thoughts: THIS. WAS. INCREDIBLE!!!! I ate this book up in about a day and a half which means it sucked me right in. Donnelly's writing is just SO darn good. I felt like I knew every character in her book enough that I could step back into time with Jo, and know people in her world without anyone even introducing me.

The main character of Jo Montfort was instantly one that I could identify with. She is a young woman who's been told no all the time. She's also being told what to do by everyone around her all the time. There are just so many things that are expected of her by everyone. When she starts to investigate, they say she was always a wild one, or that she's not taking the stress of her father's death well...aka, she's gone off her rocker! These oppressive things people do and say to her really get you fired up as a reader on Jo's behalf.

The reporter, Eddie, is also a character that you spend a lot of time with. He takes her to the morgue where she meets Oscar, who's a modern day Bones, and so many other characters from "the other side of town" let's say which you really get to know well. 

I knew that Donnelly was a fantastic writer having read her AMAZING book, Revolution a few years ago. This was a completely different type of book than the other one so I was a bit worried but also excited to try it out. She did not disappoint! WOW! The book was incredibly accurate as far as I've learned about etiquette of the times and for that class, the requirements of someone of that class at that time, and so much more. It reminded me a bit (and its referenced in an off-hand way) of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. I wasn't a fan of the plot in that novel, but was a fan of the time she described and all that it entailed. I especially loved that she was of that class, and group that she wrote about. Talk about airing your neighbor's dirty laundry! I found Wharton's actual life to be much more interesting then her novel's characters. 

Again, the writing is amazing, the time and place she's set her characters in is so well done, and the actual storyline is fantastic! I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish! WOW! 
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