(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Random House Children's Books on October 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
From Jennifer Donnelly, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of A Northern Light and Revolution, comes a mystery about dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge. For fans of Elizabeth George and Libba Bray, These Shallow Graves is the story of how much a young woman is willing to risk and lose in order to find the truth. 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 like the trailblazing Nellie Bly. Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort shot himself while cleaning his pistol. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was a partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun. The more Jo hears about her father’s death, the more something feels wrong. Suicide is the only logical explanation, and of course people have started talking, but Jo’s father would never have resorted to that. 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:"These Shallow Graves delivered all that I adore: 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 Out of the Easy"An intelligent, personable heroine-Jo Montfort's hopes for an enlightened future uncover a dark past, resulting in 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 that plunges its intrepid investigative-journalist heroine into the sordid underworld of nineteenth-century New York City and into her own family's dark secrets."-Julie Berry, award-winning author of All the Truth That's In Me"Jo Montfort is a gutsy modern heroine in a beguiling tale of old New York. Money, murder, betrayal, and family secrets....I loved spending time in this world!"-Elizabeth Ross, author of William C. Morris Award finalist Belle Epoque[STAR] "Fast-paced and thrilling...a smart, insightful, timely depiction of a young woman poised on the brink of a new world after the shattering of another."-Booklist, Starred[STAR] "Action-packed chapters propel this compelling mystery...[and] the injustices Donnelly highlights remain all too relevant."-Publishers Weekly, Starred[STAR] "A riveting historical mystery-thriller...[that] succeeds as a wonderfully paced thriller, a heart-pounding romance and an unflinching look at the hard choices one young woman must make when society disparages her dreams."-Shelf Awareness, Starred"A beautifully written mystery."-School Library Journal"[A] fast-paced thriller...the story races to its surprising conclusion."-Kirkus Reviews"A heroine you can't help cheering on."-The Horn BookFrom the Hardcover edition.
These Shallow Graves is the first book I have read by Jennifer Donnelly and I mean it when I say, it will not be the last. I loved everything about this book. The cover and the actual pages are beautiful (There’s a MAP), the characters are fantastic, and the mystery…while I guessed what was going on, I didn’t care. Donnelly created a story that yanked me in from page one and wouldn’t let me go until I finished and knew what was going to happen.
Jo Montfort comes from a well-known family and has grown up surrounded by riches and rules. As a member of the elite society of New York City, the only thing that is expected of her is that she not embarrass her family name and she marry well. The thing about Jo is she wants more than that…one of the things she wants is to be able to write – preferably a newspaper reporter like Nellie Bly.
When tragedy strikes her family, Jo is thrown into a situation she never expected to face. As she digs more and more into the death of her father, Jo is introduced to people and danger both of which would get her into a lot of trouble if her mother and uncle knew what she was up to. I loved seeing her do what she wanted to in order to find out more. I have read many books about this time in our history and every time I hear how condescending men were to women (they couldn’t possibly have a brain or want to use it for more than discussion about weather and parties) it makes me cringe and appreciate the things I am able to do.
As Jo digs, she meets a guy named Eddie. At first it was clear he saw her as an opportunity to advance at the paper but when he learns more about Jo, he finds himself drawn to her. The challenge for these two as they start to have feelings for each other, is that they are from different classes in society and definitely not allowed to do any of the things they have been up to. Both romantically as well as journalists. I liked Eddie – he has a past and as his secrets are revealed he becomes more than just the guy who will help Jo.
Coming from different classes, it was interesting to see the way they viewed each other and how they came to realize just how different they really were. From a relationship perspective, I loved seeing them realize the differences and try to figure out how they could even make their relationship work…or if they should.
There are a number of secondary characters that add to the story and I have to say, the timeframe that Donnelly set the story in was the perfect framework for this book. If you are looking for a good mystery with solid characters and a page-turning story, definitely check this book out when you can
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy!