Book Rewind · Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
For today’s Book Rewind we are reviewing These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly, which was originally published in October of 2015.
Book Rewind is a meme where we review a backlist title to distinguish reviewed books that are in no way a new release. We noticed we tend to review almost all new or newly released books and wanted to have a feature to spotlight some older books that we either just read or are just reviewing because we never got around to it, or possibly didn’t blog back then! This meme will be posted on Thursdays as a ‘Throwback Thursday’ kind of deal.
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Category: Young Adult, Historical Romance, Mystery
Publication: October 27th, 2015; Delacorte
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 secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.
Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.
The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, 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. Only 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 the truth is the dirtiest part of all.
To be honest, I don’t normally read historical fiction. When I requested this book on Netgalley, even reading the synopsis, I failed to realize it was historical. I just saw the cover and the title, and knew I had to read this book. I was surprised but happy when I finally got it. Now I’m mentally hitting myself, because this book is SO AWESOME, I couldn’t help falling in love with it.
These Shallow Graves follows Josephine ‘Jo’ Montfort, an upper-class young lady from the turn of the century New York, who’s father died mysteriously. Jo cannot accept that her father died by accident and sets out to figure out what really happened. On her journey, she meets reporter Eddie Gallagher, who after a bit of a persuasion, offers his help to Jo. Together, they secretly follow leads and unfurl a mystery behind Jo’s father’s shipping company.
I love the mystery and suspence of the story. There are twists and turns that will make your head spin. While I was reading, I thought I knew what was happening, but with every page turn, I realized I was so off track and the actual happenings are much better than what I imagined. The story is historically accurate and I really, really loved seeing this part of the era.
Jo, the heroine, is my favorite. She is an only child and ever since she was born, she’s been groomed to be a wife and mother. That is the normal thing in that era, but Jo is restless. She is very smart, curious, ambitious and determined. Jo is willing to get her hands dirty to find the reason why her father is dead. I admit, she’s sometimes a bit mercurial, not being able to decide if she wants the life her family imagined for her, or the life and freedom she’s so desperate for.
Eddie, our hero is a wonderful guy. He started his life in horrible circumstances, but is working his way up to a semi-comfortable life, where he at least has food on his table. He is an ambitious reporter, working at Jo’s father’s newspaper, but wants to be bigger. Eddie is smart, and very protective of Jo, but isn’t afraid to tell her the truth, no matter how cruel it may be. He helps her see the world in another light, away from the rich and sheltered life Jo grew up in. Eddie and Jo make a really great team and I loved every little piece of conversation they have.
From the supporting characters, I really loved Fay and Oscar. I loved Fay’s background story. Oscar is the smartest character in the story and I love how passionate he is about his job and the evolving of the medical world. Even though all the other minor characters have their own purpose, they all add something to the story, whether they are good or bad.
I haven’t read anything else by Jennifer Donnelly, but now I’m going to pick up her other books. Her style is really easy to read and while I had to tap on the screen quite a lot of time because there were words I didn’t know, it’s not her fault. As I mentioned countless times before, I am not a native English speaker, so words and phrases from the 1800’s aren’t really familiar to me. The characters and the story was really well thought out and there wasn’t any missing pieces. I loved seeing and imagining New York in this time, because I actually love history, so thank you Jennifer Donnelly.
If you like young adult books and would like to mix-up genres, check out These Shallow Graves. You won’t regret it.
* I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, which I am very thankful for. This in no way influenced my thoughts on the book.
* This review was originally published on my now defunct blog back in 2015.