Thoughts: This book was absolutely fantastic and made it on my list for favorite books of all time. This story blew me away and I‘m still shocked by the ending. This is the first book I’ve read from Cat Winters and my words cannot express how moved I am from all 387 pages.
Goodreads Summary: In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?
Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.
Whenever I think of the year 1918, I think of a time covered with war and worry. Winters captures this terrifying moment in history perfectly. Her writing transports you right into the novel and you’re just engulfed by this haunting story. In the Shadow of Blackbirds doesn’t shy away from the devastating time when young men suited up for war and you always worried that your loved ones won’t make it home. On top of that an influenza like no other stocked the healthy and waited to attack.
Our main character and narrator Mrs. Mary Shelly Black (named after the author) doesn’t bother to hide her fascination with science even if it gets her strange looks. She broke the mold for heroines everywhere and I keep thinking that she would make an amazing friend. She was funny, smart and I can’t imagine going through the things she went through.
“Why can’t a girl be smart without it being explained away as a rare supernatural phenomenon?”
With her father imprisoned as a traitor for refusing to fight in the war, she is sent to live with her aunt. My emotions were definitely on a roller coaster with this book and I loved every ounce of the relationship that Mary had with her childhood sweetheart, Stephen. *No Spoilers.* I also found myself appreciating the relationship she had with her aunt. Even with everything going on around them Mary Shelly still felt like a teenager. Especially when she and her aunt had their spats. Winters created a set of characters that perfectly fit to her story.
This novel shows how much people had to endure and that it wasn’t just the men off fighting in battle that felt uneasy. It shows how men and woman turned to the supernatural to give them hope and how desperate they were during this time. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this book and it demands to be read. I’m serious. It’s a great story that will continue to haunt its readers long after they’ve finished the last page. An amazing work of historical fiction! I need to go out and buy my own copy now.
Let me know what you think.
Next Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- In the Shadow of Blackbirds (dogeareddenouement.wordpress.com)