Monday, May 6, 2013

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

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In the Shadow of Blackbirds
by Cat Winters
400 pages
NetGalley- Amulet Books
YA Paranormal
April 2013

Book Jacket Summary
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.

My Thoughts
A historical novel with a paranormal twist? Yes, please!
1918 is a time period that is not often used as a backdrop for books because it was such a devastating time with WWI and the Spanish flu ravishing the country. Mary Shelley Black is sent to San Diego after her father is arrested for being a traitor to the country. She goes to live with her 26 year old Aunt Eva who is recently widowed due to the flu that is spreading across the city. Mary Shelley, who is named after the authoress, is mourning the loss of her first love, Stephen, who died overseas in front lines of World War I. Needless to say she is not having the best time. When Stephen starts visiting her in her room she is not sure if he is a ghost or she is going mad. Mary Shelley must find out what really happened to Stephen and keep herself safe from the Spanish flu.
This is a great book for a person who loves historical books that have a supernatural element. This book really delves into the harshness of the time with how depressed and withdrawn people had become due to the war and sickness. Even with that there is hope with our protagonist, Mary Shelley. She is smart and resourceful. Plus she will take apart a gramophone and put it back together when she is nervous.
It can be a little slow at the beginning but once it ramps up it becomes a thriller with some scary elements. I highly recommend Cat Winters debut book and I will be looking for her next book, which is also a historical fiction! Yay!

“I had a little bird,
It’s name was Enza,
I opened up the window,
And In Flu Enza”.  

Book Pairings
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer 
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore 
 
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