The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Disclaimer: I bought this book! Support your authors!

 

Book: The Fountains of Silence

 

Author: Ruta Sepetys

 

Book Series: Standalone

 

Rating: 1/5

 

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, DNFed

 

Publisher: Philomel Books

 

Pages: 512

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

 

Review: Another book I had to DNF. I couldn’t get into it as much as I love history and I thought that the pacing and plot were very slow coming. The characters weren’t interesting or developed in my opinion and the book had a lot of events that I thought were uneventful.

 

Verdict: Not for me.

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

TOUR BANNER (23)

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher and fantastic flying book club! Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: They Went Left

Author: Monica Hesse

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: Jewish main characters!

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: April 7, 2020

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Recommended Age: 16+ (romance, violence, death, TW for Holocaust mentioning)

Synopsis: Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else–her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja–they went left.

Zofia’s last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.

But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her–or help her rebuild her world.

Review: This book is equal parts heartbreaking and equal parts inspiring. The character development is amazing, I absolutely loved our main character and I loved how she wasn’t cookie cutter, she had flaws as well. I loved the world building, it’s hard to realize how devastating a place can be after a war. I am fortunate enough to not live with destruction like that and to see life go on as normal. I think books like this are very important because we only learn about the during and we don’t get to hear a lot about the after.

However, I did think the pacing was hit or miss. Sometimes we were sailing through and others we were at a standstill.

Verdict: a marvelous book! Definitely recommend!

BOOK INFORMATION

They Went Left

by Monica Hesse
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Synopsis:

Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else–her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja–they went left.

Zofia’s last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.

But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her–or help her rebuild her world.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47539277-they-went-left

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UBy7kn

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/they-went-left-monica-hesse/1132821504?ean=9780316500746

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/they-went-left/id1475457444

Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/They-Went-Left-Monica-Hesse/9781549131714?ref=grid-view&qid=1584711908355&sr=1-1

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Monica_Hesse_They_Went_Left?id=AKGnDwAAQBAJ&hl=en_US

Monica Hesse by Cassidy DuHon

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Monica Hesse is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat, American Fire, and The War Outside, as well as a columnist at The Washington Post writing about gender and its impact on society. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.

AUTHOR LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768028.Monica_Hesse

Website: https://www.monicahesse.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MonicaHesse

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monica.hesse.7

The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann for Fantastic Flying Book Club

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher! Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Book: The Degenerates

 

Author: J. Albert Mann

 

Book Series: Standalone

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Diversity: Slight LGBTQA+ relationship (makeout scene) and based on the covers one of the girls is black and the other might be Asian, but it wasn’t well described in the book.

 

Publication Date: March 17, 2020

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (TW torture, violence, gore, some language, and

 

Pages: March 17, 2020

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: In the tradition of Girl, Interrupted, this fiery historical novel follows four young women in the early 20th century whose lives intersect when they are locked up by a world that took the poor, the disabled, the marginalized—and institutionalized them for life.

 

The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women who are already there certainly don’t think so. Not Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose in an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots the doctors have deemed them to be. Not Alice, either, who was left there when her brother couldn’t bring himself to support a sister with a club foot. And not London, who has just been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes.

 

Review: I thought this book was well done. The world building was amazing and I like that the author kept to the historical points in the book. I felt the author did well to subtly describe the horror that people faced in the early 20th century. The book didn’t shy away from showing a light on some of the darkest moments of our history in America. The book was also very well even paced.

 

However, I didn’t like how the book was told. The book kinda bounced between events and timelines a bit recklessly and that made it hard to follow. The book also didn’t develop these characters very well and I had a hard time caring for them as a reader. I feel like the book could have been told from one POV and worked much better than with three. I also didn’t like that the girls just accepted their given labels. It fits with the time, but I think it would have been more impactful if they outright rejected it in them.

 

Verdict: A great read, especially for those who like history!

 

BOOK INFORMATION
The Degenerates
by J. Albert Mann
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 17th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Synopsis:
In the tradition of Girl, Interrupted, this fiery historical novel follows four young women in the early 20th century whose lives intersect when they are locked up by a world that took the poor, the disabled, the marginalized—and institutionalized them for life.
The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women who are already there certainly don’t think so. Not Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose in an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots the doctors have deemed them to be. Not Alice, either, who was left there when her brother couldn’t bring himself to support a sister with a club foot. And not London, who has just been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes.

BOOK LINKS
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46404362-the-degenerates
Amazon: https://amzn.to/38Qx6dD
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-degenerates-j-albert-mann/1132189225#/
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-degenerates/id1470017404
Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Degenerates-J-Albert-Mann/9781534419353?ref=grid-view&qid=1580238159491&sr=1-3
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-degenerates-4
Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/J_Albert_Mann_The_Degenerates?id=r6OeDwAAQBAJ

BOOK AUTHOR

J. Albert Mann is the author of six novels for children, with S&S Atheneum Books for Young Readers set to publish her next work of historical fiction about the Eugenics Movement and the rise of institutionalism in the United States. She is also the author of short stories and poems for children featured in Highlights for Children, where she won the Highlights Fiction Award, as well as the Highlights Editors’ Choice Award. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is the Director of the WNDB Internship Grant Committee.

Jennifer is represented by Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency.

AUTHOR LINKS
Website: http://jalbertmann.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14161864.J_Albert_Mann
Twitter:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.mann.9?tn=K-R&eid=ARA7Ey2pAqWLJpcEJwvixZXeZGM5VmpmEJj-pJDdXTjB8Ch65E4Im38CGVpiZ4fIMFDW3-5R2mNhwNey&fref=mentions
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/j.albertmann/

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Disclaimer: I bought this book! Support your authors!

Book: Dread Nation

Author: Justina Ireland

Book Series: Dread Nation Book 1

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: main mentions liking at least one girl, asexual side character, African American leads, girl power!

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (language, gore, violence, sexual mentions)

Publisher: Balzar & Bray

Pages: 455

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems

Review: Holy cow. I thought this book was amazing! I loved the plot and I loved how well written it was. The character development was on key as well and I fell in love with Katharine and Jane. The book was rife with representation and analogies (and sometimes flat out references) to the racism that is still deeply rooted in our country. The spin on history was fun and interesting to see, and honestly it fit in with the time period very well. I think this book will be one that sticks with me and one I will reread multiple times.

This is the part where I talk about the “negatives” but I really don’t have one with this book. I’m heavily anticipating the second in the series and I felt really drawn to the story since it had two of my faves (the Civil War and Zombies). For the sake of fairness, I will say that some of the battle scenes were a bit short. That’s just being nitpicky at this point because this book has won/was nominated for several awards and it rightly was so.

Verdict: Give me zombies and the civil war and I will give you my first born child.

In The Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Recommended Age: 16+ (mentions of sex, slight language, violence/bombing/acts of terrorism mentioned)

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 320

Amazon Link

Synopsis: A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes

Review: Overall, I thought this was a wonderfully well written book. It gave me more knowledge about an event that I didn’t have that much information about and it made the event more personable. The book shows the people behind the synagogue bombing, both the victims and the terrorists. The book has amazing character development and it displayed anti-Semitism and racism very well in my opinion. I felt it was very relevant to our world today, especially after the Christchurch terrorist act. It is also an own voices novel!

However, the pacing was really slow and the book had a lot more dialogue then what I would have thought it needed. I felt like, because the pacing was so slow, that I couldn’t connect with the book like I wanted to. The bombing was in the last 15% of the book and I felt like the buildup to the event was way too much. I also had a problem with the grandmother. The grandmother had an obvious problem with the mother and with the main character’s practicing religion. I don’t like that it wasn’t outright dealt with. In my personal opinion, even if you’re related to me I don’t tolerate any sort of hate language and I would never around my kids or husband.

Verdict: A beautifully well written novel for all to read!

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from JustReadTours and Thomas Nelson Publishing. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, plague, cult like things, and hearing voices)

 

Pages: 440

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

 

I love Nadine and I love her writing. She has an unique ability to immerse the writer into unique worlds and to build something from nothing in our minds. I loved how she transformed this book from a children’s nursery rhyme (and maybe a bit of V for Vendetta) and I love the concept she grasped. She made this world and made me almost believe it was real for awhile. The characters were all unique and well developed. The plot was intriguing and engaging. And the pacing was spot on.

 

However, I did feel that in some parts of the book the author treaded a thin line between what was politically correct to say and what wasn’t. They were hard for me to read because those words had hurt some of my friends in the past and I can imagine that maybe they might hurt someone today too. However, there was a bit of a reason for it (debatable) and the book turned out fantastic in the end.

 

Verdict: If you liked V for Vendetta or if you like masks definitely check out this book!

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from TheNovl! Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, bombs, war, prejudice, Nazism, and consequences)

 

Pages: 336

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado–until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother’s health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone–even each other?

 

Oh. My. God. Can I just say this is one of my favorites of 2018?? Definitely going to be a very popular book in the near future! This book was outright stunning. It discussed an event in history that many history books seem to gloss over. It incorporated a lesbian romance. It expertly showed prejudice on multiple levels and sides. And at the end it was hard to say who was right (and no I don’t mean between the Nazis and everyone else). The character development was strong and amazingly well done. The plot was intriguing and entertaining. The pacing was spot on. And from what I could research in the short time I’ve had it seemed to stick with the facts much better than another book I’ve read on WW2 that we shall not name and only side-eye.

 

The only issue I have is that the book didn’t feel complete (which might be for a reason) and the book could have tackled some more of the tough topics head on, but for what we got I think it was absolutely amazing.

 

Verdict: I loved this book. And it loved me too.

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from KidLitExchange and Sky Pony Press. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (homophobia, transphobia, sexism, abuse, sexual assault)

 

Pages: 336

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.

 

2018 is the year of the YA sea-faring books so I found another sea faring book to review! I found this book to be an interesting read. The main character was very complex and I’m still not sure what to think about her. I also thought that this book was unique in that it showed a cross-dressing female.

 

However, I’m very concerned with how trans and genderqueer people were shown and portrayed and treated in this book. There was a lot of abuse and hurtful statements towards them and it was really hard to read. The way the book was written was also really jarring and it took me out of the book each time it shifted. The plot was also really weak and the pacing was super slow. I didn’t feel the romance in this book and honestly there was a lot of it for what I thought would be an awesome sea-faring book.

 

Verdict: I’d really like to know your opinion if you are LGBT+ on this book. I honestly feel there are some really upsetting parts about this book and I fear that it will be hurtful to people in the long run. In my opinion, I think it can be hurtful and I even got upset reading the book. But I’d like to know your opinion about it.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Disclaimer: None! I bought this on my own!

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (sex, drugs…. Uhhhh…. Violens? Also violence and LGBT+ goodness)

 

Pages: 513

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

 

Let’s start this review off with “I’m watching Mackenzi Lee on YouTube and I’ve discovered my twin/soulmate/second-half in her”. Seriously, I love her. And I also love her book! I’ve never read a historical fiction book that was an entertaining as this book! The world building was fantastic and the characters felt so alive. The plot was entertaining and very accurate to the time period and the book was also paced perfectly. I love how Lee wasn’t afraid to keep the novel below the 350ish page “limit” that most YA books seems to try to achieve. I enjoy longer novels when they need to be longer and I feel that a lot of books need to be over that soft limit, but they’re afraid of losing people’s interest in going over it. Lee also made history and the time period come alive and I feel that this book could be easily used in a history class to help bring history to life.

 

The only complaint I have is that 1) The book is over and I really want to know what happens next and 2) I really REALLY REEEEAAALLLYYYYYY want the next book in the series. I’m not sure if this next book is all about Monty’s sister Felicity or if Monty will reappear, but I neeeddddddd.

 

Verdict: I have a new hero and her name is Mackenzi Lee.

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Genre: YA Mystery/Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (sexual references, violence, gore, suicide trigger warning)

 

Pages: 488

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: None, I got this on my own accord!

 

Synopsis: 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.

 

Funny story about this book: I was on my book crawl for my husband and mine’s first wedding anniversary and I saw this book in a small book store. I saw the cover and grabbed it, not even reading what the book was about. What was I thinking when I grabbed it? “Hmmm…. graves is in the title… a hand reaching up from the ground… looks dark and eerie… MUST BE ABOUT ZOMBIES!” Imagine my disappointment when this book did not include zombies. BUT this book was absolutely wonderful in its own accord. The characters were developed and engaging, the plot was well developed and intriguing, and the pacing wasn’t slow like it usually is in mystery books. This swiftly became one of my favorite mysteries over 6 hours it took me to read it. This book was also a favorite historical fiction of mine. The book spends a lot of time narrating what life looks like from Jo’s perspective and while it can be trivial and a bit boring to some, I found it quite fascinating to learn about life from her point of view and then what life looked like for others in different social and class circles.

 

However, I did think that the book focused a lot on Jo’s personal struggles and not a lot on the mystery itself. When the conclusion came it was bittersweet in that we didn’t get the full trial. It’s like those law and order episodes that either all focus in the courtroom or all focus on the police work and crime. I like both aspects and to have one missing is a little bit of a bummer for me. The writing is also a little bit weird. The first paragraph or two of each chapter either focuses on a flashback or sets the stage for Jo retelling the audience what happened prior. There’s no page breaks or italics to offset this from the rest of the novel, so it’s a bit weird to recognize that as a reader.

 

Verdict: If you like your mysteries historical and your main characters Victorian, then you’ll love this book!