Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bookanistas: IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters

I am buried under revisions right now so I'm going to do something I swore I'd never do...use a plot summary from Goodreads. I LOVE writing plot summaries because it helps me clarify my thoughts about other aspects of a novel--themes, imagery, structure. But I'm tight on time and wanted to sign a little Bookanista light on this terrific book and SOON because it pubs next month. So, with apologies...

Plot (from Goodreads--ack!)...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.

Of literary interest...This beautifully designed book (cover, page numbers, chapter headings, font choices) incorporates vintage photographs and other historical images. The story is also peppered with letters Mary Shelley exchanges with her soldier-love, Stephen, and her imprison father. These elements create a richly textured novel that explores on many levels the way we see, what we believe, and how this relates to the way we understand our hearts, ourselves.

Finally, just gotta say...This is one of those reads to get lost in.  With a hint of magic, a mystery, and a unique love story play out in a fascinating historical setting. Rich, romantic and impeccably researched, this is a must for your spring TBR list!


Jessica Love covets the cover of ALIENATED
Elana Johson thinks MAGISTERIUM is magical
Shelli Johannes-Wells  is wild for POISON
Katy Upperman  shares her passion for ELEANOR AND PARK


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