Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

in the shadow of blackbirds

Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Author: Cat Winters

Release Date/Publisher: April 2nd 2013 by Amulet Books

Finished: June 3rd 2013

Pages: 387-Hardcover-owned


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.

What I thought:

This book was different than what I normally read, but after seeing it in the bookstore I wanted to give it a try. I usually don’t read many books about war since they always end up making me sad, what with the losses and what the men went through.

This book was set during World War 1, and not only did it talk about the Flu that went around and all the people dying because of that, but there are scenes with men that came back damaged both mentally and physically. There’s also some pictures taken during the war throughout this book, like one of some trenches and men carrying a casket.

And then there’s the ghosts. First, the pictures were definitely creepy. If you know me well, you know that anything ghost related really scares me, but I still go looking at that kind of stuff anyway. The pictures and the mix of ghosts throughout the book were definitely creepy, especially when a certain one connects with our main character and things start happening.

As for Mary Shelley Black (a good author she’s names after too), she’s a very smart girl who loves science and electricity and reading. I liked her stubborn character but also how she really loved Stephen and how she tries so hard to help him.

If you want a historical book that involves ghosts and a great story, with real pictures inserted inside then definitely pick up this book. I liked reading it even though it scared me a few times.

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