Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Oh my goodness guys! I finally finished a book, and it wasn’t a graphic novel for a series review, or a picture book, but an actual 400+ page review. Now, I know many of you read this when it was first released, but I’m behind and don’t get those sweet deals on ARCs like you do down in the states that’s okay though 😉

Published: 2015
By: Random House Delacorte
Source: Borrowed
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780385737654



I chose this book randomly off the shelves of the library. It was on my reading list, but originally I was picking up books 4-6 of the graphic novel series, Saga. I wouldn’t necessarily say the writing was amazing, but the story itself – gripping.

Jennifer Donnelly writes a great historical fiction piece set in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. With main characters that develop throughout the story and have more than 3-base emotions. The story itself took me on a wild adventure with the main character, Jo Montfort, as she delves deep into the investigation that ultimately changes her life and alters the perception that she had been led to believe was all that she needed. In her adventure she develops new friends, loves and loses, thinks for herself – which was never acceptable for a society lady, suffered through the death of many close to her, and the list goes on. All in the while Jo is leading a double-life.

In the first, she is the good daughter. A society girl of good breeding and character. She attends a fine school. Her family name is considered well-known and well-to-do in all of New York. One of the finer families. Jo is beautiful and she is “destined” to marry Bram Aldrich, a man from another well-off family with a lot of money. Jo never wanted this dead-end arrangement, but had no way of getting out of it. Until her father was found dead in his study one night.

The other life Jo leads is the one that she starts after her father’s death. The investigation. Believing that there is no way her father’s death was a suicide, Jo is on the hunt for the truth. With nothing but a name, Eleanor Owens, and the money she found stashed in her father’s agenda, $1000, she sets on a journey that alters the threads that were delicately tied to ensure her future was set and nothing should have undone that.

I enjoyed this book very much. I liked the fact that Jo didn’t quite get the happily ever after one might expect, but she did get what she wanted: Freedom. She gained a new life, and although she may not have gotten the boy, she seems, more or less, undeterred by that. She earned the independence she so strongly desired, and now she continues to learn to be independent in a world she never knew beyond the windows of her carriage.



About Black ' n Write Reviewer

I'm a junior high librarian finding her way into the lives of her students through the art of literature.
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