Tuesday, 2 April 2013

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

GoodReads 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?

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Expected publication date: 02/04/13

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a dark and beautiful story that had me on the verge of tears.

The story takes place in 1918, during the time of the Spanish influenza. Our plucky and intelligent heroine Mary Shelley Black has never believed in ghosts, that is until her first love tragically dies in battle and returns as a traumatised spirit. Shocked beyond belief Shelley is determined to find out the true cause of his death.

It's clear that Winters has done her research, she paints a bleak and dreary picture of a world that has been torn apart by the war. Young men are sent to battle, the Spanish influenza is fast spreading, and desperate mourners find themselves seeking comfort from séances and spirit photographers. To add to this atmosphere of desperation and death black and white pictures are littered throughout the novel giving the reader a feel of life in 1918.

Mary Shelley Black is different from other girls her age, she has a fascination and passion for science. She is a like a modern day girl living in the past. The romance between Mary and her childhood friend Stephen is told through letters and flashbacks. It was sweet and touching, making it even more insufferable to witness the two in such pain. My heart just ached for them.

A gripping, emotional, and heartbreaking read. I can say without a doubt that In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one of my favourite standalone books of the year so far.

Rating:

21 comments:

  1. Oh man, I keep seeing these awesome and raving reviews about this book and it's making me so excited. Everybody is saying that the author did her research and I love that! It's important when you are writing are story like this. Mary sounds like someone I will really like :)

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  2. This was definitely a five-star read for me too, and like you, I appreciated the amount of research that went into it. I invited Cat to talk about the research she did and I'll be posting that this Friday. I'm SO happy you enjoyed this!

    Great review! Hugs. :)

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  3. Well Maja here told me about this book first and I couldn't believe it. I mean I'd never assume that this book is so strong and powerful. It's already on my to-read list and I can't wait to read it! :)
    Great review :)

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  4. So far, I've only heard great things about this book and your review confirms that this is a must-read. I think I'll need a box of Kleenex besides me when I read it. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Wow! Amazing review! I love that it included illustrations throughout, I love that technique, helps me really see the truth of a time period. The books that effect your heart are sure to be wonderful; I definitely want to read this story!

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  6. Everyone has raved about this one. This sounds amazing but also heartbreaking! I can't imagine how our world would react if faced with the staggering amount of casualties from the Spanish Influenza. If it happened in our time with the same ratios, our world would completely freak out. Wonderful review Renu! :)

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  7. Maaan, I haven't read one negative review on this yet. I definitely have it on my TBR. Great review!

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  8. Sigh. Amazing review. <3 This book is just so damn perfect. I need to re-read it. <3 Maybe this week :) It was just so good. And I'm so glad that you loved it that much too. Mary Shelley is just amazing. And Stephen.. Sobs. So good, though. I loved the parts about the war and the influenza :) I just loved everything in this book ;p Except for the death of Stephen :\ Because that might have been a bit too heartbreaking.

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  9. This is definitely a book that I need to buy soon, I first totally overlooked it, thinking it wouldn't be for me, but there has been so much praise for it so far, that I know I will be missing out on a gem of a read. I'm so glad that you loved it too Renu Lovely review! :)

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  10. I hadn't seen this book before but it looks so good and interesting! And full five hearts?that's awesome! I'll definitely have a look at it :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

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  11. I'm so glad you loved this one, too! I completely agree that it was gripping and heartbreaking. I didn't actually think I would be so moved by Mary Shelley and Stephen's story, and that was a lovely surprise. Brilliant review, Renu. :)

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  12. People seem to be really loving this one, and I can't wait to get my hands on it now! I am not a big fan of historicals but I think I would like this one for its bleakness (weird I know!) I also love a book when you can tell that the author did their research, fabulous review!

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  13. Wow, another glowing review for this book! I haven't read anything less yet, and that means I need to stop stalling and pick this book up immediately! I'm so glad to know you loved it Renu:):)

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  14. I have been seeing this book EVERYWHERE, but wasn't sure about it. :) Glad to hear it's a good bet.

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  15. Wonderful! I am so excited to hear that you loved this one. Also happy that is a terrific stand alone. Good stand alones are hard to find. I have this scheduled in a couple of weeks with a guest post from the author. I hear it has ties to Portland Oregon so that makes me even more excited.

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  16. I am SO glad you enjoyed this one! I am dying to read it soon - if only my mailman would deliver it already - since I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and this seems perfect! Fantastic review, as always, Renu! :D

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  17. From the description this book didn't really interest me but your review has changed my mind.

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  18. I have yet to hear anything other than high praise for this one! So excited that you loved it - I can hardly wait to read it! Amazing review, my friend! <3

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  19. I'm looking forward to reading this one as I've heard how well researched it is. I also love that pictures that give you a feel for how life was back then. And of course, this one gets bonus points for being a standalone!

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  20. It's so exciting to me that this one has been getting so many raving reviews! It really does sound emotionally heartbreaking. I'm glad that the author has done her research because that's always a pet peeve of mine when that work is not apparent.

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  21. I need to buy a copy of this book! Loads of positive things is said to this book. Thanks for the review.

    -Dannielle

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