In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Summary 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?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Hardcover, 387 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Amulet Books
(Expected paperback publication: October 7th 2014 by Amulet Paperbacks)

My Review
 
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a deliciously dark, haunting and very inviting tale that had me either reading it or thinking about reading it!

Cat Winters is a fantastic writer, who manages to set the perfect atmospheric scene. I felt like I was living and suffocating alongside the characters in this story and I really loved being a part of it all. The research that went into writing this book really shines through and makes it a terrifying but utterly believable read.

The storyline is set in 1918, where the Spanish influenza is rife and everyone is wearing precious gauze masks. Mary Shelley Black has to make a quick getaway when her father is accused of spying for the enemy. She flees to the safety of her widowed aunt.

Mary soon discoverers that her beloved sweetheart and best-friend passed away fighting in the war. She attends a spirit photographer and even though she doesn’t believe in that sort of thing, something forces her to rethink and question everything….

A restless ghost, a lost love, haunting and very eerie scenes…this is what makes this book truly something special!

Mary Shelley is a quirky girl with a very intelligent head on her shoulders. I really enjoyed her fearlessness and my heart truly broke for her on many occasions. There is also an interesting mix of strange and very intriguing secondary characters.

I adored the mystery surrounding this storyline and the way nothing was ever given away, you discover all of the big shockers alongside Mary Shelley. Nothing was ever certain and I questioned everything…I was surprised and completely blown away by the ending….

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is an eerie, luring and achingly romantic story that is written to tense perfection! The black and white early-twentieth-century photographs are quite frightening and really bring this story to life so beautifully. I’ve never read anything like this before and it really will be banging around in my head for a very long time to come!

5 / 5 Stars!

*Special thanks to Amulet for the review copy*

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