Jo Montfort dreams of being a journalist, much like her hero Nellie Bly. However, as a member of the New York uppercrust with a family name to match, Jo is destined for life as a wealthy man’s wife. When her father is found dead in his study with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound the Montfort family begins to grieves. Something doesn’t seem right to Jo. As her family begins the intense grieving process, full of dark clothing and crazy social rules, Jo finds traces that suggest her father may have been murdered instead. Jo overhears a young man at her father’s paper, Eddie Gallagher, talking about the case. The two partner up, despite the fact they are from very different worlds, to figure out what secrets Monfort took to his grave. The adventure turns out to be far more dangerous and twisted than either could ever have imagined.
Jennifer Donnelly’s These Shallow Graves captures the strange social requirements of a young woman from wealthy family at the turn of the century, adds in a strange story and manages to balance it out to be a very believable work of fiction. Fans of Libba Bray Gemma Doyle Trilogy will absolutely love this book, though in this book realistic horrors are prevalent where supernatural ones are not. Jo Montfort is a heroine that the reader wants to root for, even when frustrated by the dangerous situations she puts herself in. The book covers the initial findings of forensic pathology and the difficulties of getting the general public to understand the nature of their findings. These Shallow Graves does an excellent job of describing how easily a woman was discounted at the turn of the century, and how easy it was for patriarchs to have others believe their young daughters and nieces were crazy when it was more convenient. It is easy as a reader to become deeply attached to the characters, wishing the best for them even though they are works of fiction.
These Shallow Graves is exciting and wonderfully written. The only real danger is not being able to put the book down after you start reading.
These Shallow Graves is available from Random House Childrens’ books October 27, 2015.