If you like Cat Winters, you’ll enjoy this.
The New York Times bestseller from the acclaimed author of A Northern Light, Revolution, Stepsister, and Poisoned. This thrilling mystery is perfect for fans of The Cellar and Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. It's a story of dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge.
Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter.
Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. The story is that Charles Montfort shot himself while cleaning his revolver, but the more Jo hears about her father’s death, the more something feels wrong. And then she meets Eddie—a young, smart, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. But now it might be too late to stop.
The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and this time the truth is the dirtiest part of all.
Praise for These Shallow Graves:
★ “Action-packed chapters propel this compelling mystery…[and] the injustices Donelly highlights remain all too relevant.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Lovely prose, historical intrigue, unique characters and setting. I devoured this book!” —Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea
“A splendidly hair-raising tour of the brightest and darkest corners of Victorian New York.” —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity and Black Dove, White Raven
“A fast-paced Gilded Age crime thriller.” —Julie Berry, award-winning author of All the Truth That’s in Me
- ISBN10 0385737661
- ISBN13 9780385737661
- Publish Date 25 October 2016 (first published 27 October 2015)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Imprint Ember
- Format Paperback (US Trade)
- Pages 512
- Language English
- URL https://penguinrandomhouse.com/books/isbn/9780385737661
If you like Cat Winters, you’ll enjoy this.
My full book review is up on Word Revel.
June 27, 2017
Initial thoughts: This is a book of starkly contrasting moods, which made These Shallow Graves such a varied read. Jo was so naïve at times (as many upper class girls in the late 19th century would've been), building up a fair amount of situational comedy. On the flip side, there were violent moments that veered into graphic descriptions. And then, just a few pages later, tender moments unfolded.
These Shallow Graves spans several genres — historical fiction, mystery, and romance. You'd think the threads of the plot would get awfully tangled with so much going on. They didn't. Everything fit together quite purposefully, all while keeping on track with the overarching plot.
Note: I received a finished copy from a local distributor in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I'll start with the disclaimer that this book is definitely not as good as Revolution, but I found that I enjoyed it nonetheless. Jo was a likeable, if at times incredible naive, protagonist and it's always fun to read the rebellious-rich-girl narratives. I liked the way the press played a part in the mystery, and Jo's ambition to be a reporter and tackle women's issues was charming if a bit idealistic for someone from her demographic. I found that I did end up rooting for one of the romances in the novel, and I loved many of the eccentric secondary characters as well, such as Oscar, Jo's acquaintance turned friend who works in a morgue and practices the new and controversial "forensic science." I knocked a few stars off of my rating because I found the plot to be pretty predictable, and sometimes Jo was so stubbornly naive and took such stupid risks that I found myself rolling my eyes a bit. However, even if it wasn't the most original story I did like how all of the ends were tied up at the conclusion of the novel and how everything fit together in a pretty clever manner. I'd definitely try another book by Donnelly.
Overall: An engaging, if a bit predictable period mystery set it Victorian-era New York. If you're a historical fiction fan and like engaging secondary characters you'll most likely find this to be a suitable read for you.This review was originally posted on Girl in the Pages
I'm not the biggest fan of historical fiction, let's face it, it's quite often boring and like watching paint dry. But These Shallow Graves? Phenomenal. I loved it from cover to cover. I may have even licked the pages a little. It follows the storyline of Josephine, a society girl born into wealth in an era where girls are trophies, lovely to look at but not held in high regard. She dabbles with investigative articles for her school's whimsical newspaper, but craves more and dreams of being able to report from the slums of New York's underbelly. I adored how Jennifer Donnelly highlighted how restricted females were in 1890, trained as doting wives and not allowed independent thoughts. None more prevalent than when Jo walks into Eddie's life.
Eddie is a knockabout larrikin. He's a reporter who wants to investigate real stories, not just the society pages he's forced to write. He's never met anyone like Jo, determined as she is beautiful and not at all like the well polished girl from the society pages. As the two follow the leads to find her father's killer, Jo and Eddie form a tense and tentative friendship. Their attraction is undeniable, but Jo is from a wealthy family who would never accept a lowly writer as her companion, especially not now she's betrothed to one of New York's most eligible bachelors. The forbidden romance was intense, seeing the bond forming between Jo and Eddie was so incredibly lovely as Eddie struggled to keep her safe. In an era where women of substance are well bred and demure, Jo refuses to conform. I adored her character as an individual and within her budding relationship with Eddie. She doesn't lose perspective or is willing to play the damsel in distress, which is often the issue I find with young adult historical fiction.
The only issue I found was that the big reveal was predictable. But then again, when it comes to mysteries, I'm suspicious of most characters. I would have loved to have seen this turn into a series. With Jo's conclusion, readers could follow her story beyond the final page and I for one would buy the shit outta that.
These Shallow Graves is nothing short of lovely. Telling the story of an oppressed girl in an era where women are treated as breakable, demure and incompetent of independent thought. Josephine's dry sarcasm and her ability to discover a world so far removed from her own was incredibly charming. An intense and slow burning romance, mystery and intrigue, These Shallow Graves is a phenomenal read from a fresh voice in young adult historical fiction.
- Beautiful prose, intrigue and engaging characters made this murder mystery a pleasure to listen too. Donnelly takes us to the darkest corners of nineteenth century New York. Jo Montfort is a member of the upper class and bound to its expectations. Pampered and sheltered from the world she longs to be a newspaper reporting like Nellie Bly. Naturally curious, Jo is troubled by the death of her father. Ruled a suicide Jo is determined to prove foul play was involved. Her journey will take her into the dark underbelly of New York and introduces her to a young, handsome reporter named Eddie. Together they work to solve the mystery as more murders occur and soon find themselves in danger. While, I solved the mystery early, the tale to discover motive was a pleasurable and suspenseful ride.
- Jo Montfort is spunky, clever and strong-willed making her an interesting character. I loved her deduction skills and tenacious curiosity but Donnelly showed us her nativity towards the real world around her. She perfectly depicts how sheltered these 1890 debutants were. Eddie Gallagher is an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the darker sides of the city from the corrupt police department to the horrors of the orphanages. He admires Jo, but also sees how naïve she is. A slow-building, swoon-worthy romance develops and the forbidden aspect tugged at my heartstrings. Donnelly allows them to really get to know each other and with it, we see growth in Jo. These two are far from perfect and I liked exposing their flaws.
- The questions surrounding the death of Jo’s father and the subsequent murders lead us on a trail of secrets, conspiracies and cover-ups. Donnelly did a wonderful job of executed this compelling mystery. She created mysterious villains and foul characters for the couple to face as they unearthed clues. Twists, and turns made for a great listen that slowly built up in intensity as Jo finally uncovers the truth. One that might just get kill her.
- Donnelly brought Victorian New York to life with her beautiful prose and well researched depictions. The more they learn the deeper into the underbelly of the city Jo travels. All of which gives her a rude awaken into the lives of the lower class. From brothels to the decrepit housing conditions Jo gains quite the education. She meets and befriends Fay, a pickpocket and despite living on the street, she sees similarities between the two of them.
- Fans of historical fiction and clever murder mysteries will appreciate Donnelly’s attention to detail and beautiful writing style. Kim Bubbs did a wonderful job in her narration of the story from her tone to each unique voice she gave the characters. These Shallow Graves is a standalone novel and perfect for Fall. Donnelly wraps up the murder mystery and will leaves readers satisfied with its conclusion.
Audio provided by publisher. This review was originally posted on Caffeinated Book Reviewer