Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

From Goodreads: 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? 

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: If you’re looking for a historical fiction novel that gives you an accurate feeling of the time period that it takes place in, In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters would be one such book.

Set during the month of October 1918 when Americans were experiencing both WWI and the Spanish influenza epidemic, there was a palpable sense of fear and desperation throughout the book. With so many young people dying in such a short span of time, the grief-stricken living sought to contact their beloved through spiritualism, which Winters uses to her advantage by seamlessly incorporating the presence of a ghost into the story.

Throw in a likeable protagonist such as Mary Shelley with her no-nonsense approach and love of science, secondary characters like anxious Aunt Eva with her folk remedies, a sweet romance that isn’t the focal point of the plot, a mysterious death, and the inclusion of black and white photographs that enrich the overall atmosphere of the story, and it’s not surprising that I enjoyed In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds was released by Amulet Books in April 2013. 

Comments About the Cover: The cover suits the novel perfectly! The model is even wearing Mary Shelley’s aviatrix goggles!


  1. I think I've seen pretty much nothing but good things about this book – glad to see it gets your stamp of approval too! I definitely need to check this one out. Love that the protagonist is no-nonsense, I always appreciate a strong practical streak in a character :)

  2. This is another one of those books where I've read nothing but positive reviews. Those books make me nervous that I'll be the only one to not fall madly in love with it, but they also make me want to pick them up immediately so I can experience them for myself. Glad this was a winner Z!

  3. Woo, I really want to read this (and also Cat's most recent book)! It's not often that I get to read historic that really draws you in and is accurate and GOOD so whenever I hear of them, I feel like I must check them out. And this is one of those ones that I feel would really impress me, like it has with everyone else.

  4. I'm so glad you liked this one because it's a favorite of mine! Completely agree with everything you said, so many different story elements combined in this book and worked really well together.

  5. I thought this one was absolutely perfect. Well researched, touching, creepy and very well done. I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I liked it a lot as well, and rated it 4 stars, too. LOVE that cover.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


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