Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review-In The Shadow of Blackbirds

By Cat Winters
387 Pages
Abrams Publishing

Summary taken from Goodreads:
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?
My Thoughts:
Creepy with a capital C.
I LOVE historical fiction-now combine that with Young Adult and you've hooked me. I fell in love with the cover first. It's beautiful, mysterious and a tad creepy. Happily the story was just as grreat as the cover.
Author Cat Winters has set her story at a time in our history that was filled with terror and fear.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is set in 1918 during the height of World War I. Young men are being shipped over seas to fight in The Great War while here in the United States people live in fear of the Spanish Influenza.
People are dropping like flies on the shores of foreign countries as well as in our own backyard. People are paranoid and superstitious, desperately looking for a miracle cure for the flu.
Main character Mary Shelley Black has had her world turned upside down. She has been forced to leave her home in Oregon and relocate to San Diego after her father has been accused and jailed for anti- war activities.
San Diego offers family connections and the promise of a fresh start. San Diego is also home to her childhood friend/first love Stephen Embers who's fighting the war in Germany.
Things go horribly wrong when Mary Shelley decides to visit Stephen's family-while there she is convinced that Stephen's ghost is trying to communicate with her. Stephen's brother, a spiritual photographer and opportunist insists that Mary Shelley be photographed in hopes of capturing Stephen's ghost on film . To make money or to have closure?
During this time people looked for comfort and peace through seances and spiritual photography-a way to contact their dead loved ones or proof that their spirits lived on. Mary Shelley is a smart girl with a scientific mind-she's determined to investigate the strange happening and come up with a logical answer. She believes that ghosts are not real. Are thesee encounters with Stephen imaginary?
Things are not as they seem as Mary Shelley unwittingly gets caught up in a mystery that has many twists and turns along the way.
I absolutely loved how Cat Winters combined actual history of the Spanish Flu and World War I with the creepiness of seances and spiritual photography.
The attention to detail and research was incredible. I can hardly believe that this is her debut novel. I look forward to more from this writer.
For more information on Cat Winters visit her web page.
And I just read that Online Booklist just announced that In the Shadows of Blackbirds made the Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth 2013. Congratulations to Cat Winters!!
A big thank you to Abrams for sending me this book to read and review. It was given away last month as a prize in a giveaway.

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