Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Historical Thriller: These Shallow Graves - Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow GravesThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly 
Date Released: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Random House Delacorte 

Pages: 496 pages
Format: ARC
Source: For Review Fr
om Teenreads!
Rating: 4 Stars!
Series: Standalone

Goodreads Synopsis: Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.
From Goodreads

These Shallow Graves was such a complex, rich historical novel that brought me back into reading. Everything about it, from it's quirky, emotional characters to a dark plot had me racing through the pages. I read Donnelly's other novel, Revolution, and loved it. It was great knowing These Shallow Graves lived up to my expectations!

The novel circles around the Victorian era. Girls forced into arranged marriages. The corrupt media spreading lies. The powerful men dominating the social classes. Donnelly creates such a rich and detailed setting, I was automatically drawn into it. The protagonist, Joe Montfort is from a rich, well-established family. She has big dreams to become a new reporter, but as her father's fatal death comes crashing into her life, that dream is far from reality. Her dad's death instantly sets the dark, suspenseful tone of the novel. I greatly enjoyed how Donnelly took the type to establish Joe and her motivating and strong personality within the first few chapters. 

As Joe searches for the answers to whom killed her dad, she meets Eddie Gallagher, a new reporter, someone she would never see herself talking with. Or much less fall in love. Joe and Eddies were great foil characters for each other. Joe is such a determined and strong willed character she balanced out Eddie's whimsical, caring attitude. The novel delves upon dark secrets hidden within Joe's world, but also the world Eddie comes from. While Donnelly's idea is not new, she presents it in her own way and provides a twist that I never saw coming!

The novel definitely kicked up as Joe and Eddies uncovered clues pertaining to her dad's killer. Joe and Eddies go through many emotional journeys from Joe's arranged marriage with Bram to a close betrayal from a family member, you can't help but be in her shoes. Another great thing was that Donnelly did not circle the whole novel around them. It was all about the killer and uncovering her family secrets. The romance between it all added to the emotional appeal of the novel and added a great depth to the novel. 

In all honestly, I believed Donnelly could have sped up on revealing who the killer is. 496 pages was a lot and she could have produced a much stronger novel with fewer pages. Some chapters just dragged me down and I felt like it didn't contribute to the novel as a whole. 

Ultimately, These Shallow Graves is one of my favorite historical YA novel from this year! Donnelly is back with a richly drawn novel filled with complex characters and a killer that will have you on the edge of you seat!


  1. I'm glad this book got you back on the saddle again. It's difficult sometimes to get over a funk. For me, it's always a romance book, but hey. To each to their own. :)

  2. I think Revolution got my expectations WAY up. I enjoyed this, but I agree that it dragged at times.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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