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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Genre: YA Historical Mystery
Publication: October 27, 2015 by Random House Delacorte
Acquisition: read a free eARC via NetGalley

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.
(from Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars

This is a good book and I really wasn't sure it was going to be. Me = pleasantly, happily, surprised.

Reasons I was worried:

1. Josephine was going to be a snooty self absorbed rich girl I would have a hard time relating to
2. Everyone would be a stereotype (rich / poor - well breed / working class trash - proper ladies / dashing young gentlemen)
3. The mystery would be predictable
4. The setting would get boring


So yes, Josephine is a rich, well breed proper lady whose has a seemingly predictable mystery thrust into her life and must navigate through it in the set in its ways gilded age of NYC.


It was so easy and downright fun relating to Josephine. She's knows her place in her world and in her family but it doesn't stop her from listening to and following her heart.

The characters didn't feel like stereotypes - more like true representations of people from this time period which duh, I'm sure it what Donnelly was going for but yes, I was still worried it wasn't going to work.

The mystery was...ok...it was predictable - but not in the ways I thought it would be. There were a lot of layers and details that I wasn't expecting.

New York City's gilded age, while diverse, if portrayed through the wrong light, could get tedious to read about. Not so in These Shallow Graves. A lot of different places, cultures and people were incorporated into the story in very real ways. It was never boring.

So really, there is only 1 thing that brought this down to a 4 start read.

It was the ending.

I didn't like it.

I mean, the outcome of it all? It was good...not great and not really what I would have wanted but it was ok.

But the details? So many coincidences and a lot of it felt rushed. I could see how all the pieces fit together...it just didn't feel very believable.

In the end though - a pretty good read and one that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great review! Leydy just posted a review for this book on our blog today and had very similar things to say. I'll definitely have to check it out! I've never read a Jennifer Donnelly book before.


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