Friday, 22 January 2016

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Review

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

“If you’re going to bury the past, bury it deep, girl. Shallow graves always give up the dead.”

After the death of her father Jo finds herself in a different world as she tries to solve the mystery surrounding his death.  The book deals with the treatment of girls in the 1890s both rich and poor, the slave trade and an ongoing murder mystery.

“The moment a girl learned to talk, she was told not to.”

The story follows Jo as she enlists the help of a reporter called Eddie to find information surrounding her father’s death. It does follow some typical conventions of the entire mystery adventure genre with her looking for clues in different seedy places, meeting different good & bad characters and the red herring however what makes the book interesting is as although it focuses on the action there’s this incorporation of the theme with girls and how they’re treated. Every step that Jo makes is so carefully measured out so at the end of the day her reputation will be intact and she’ll get a good decent husband. The pressure that society puts on her hinders what she’s allowed to do to such an extent that it’s not normal for a girl of her class to even be doing anything other than fawning over clothes and marriage proposals.  

Jo is a determined character who fights for what she wants and thinks is morally right and just overall she’s really brave to go forward with her plans even though they’ll hinder her future. She is quite naïve on certain matters but it’s realistic due to her background. I just found her really likable because she just forged on no matter what happened and didn’t do annoying stuff. But I do think there were too many additional characters in the book and it was confusing at the time on who was who.

“They hoped to save her reputation, to protect her; instead they destroyed her”

The book had a cute romance which dealt with the issues with a higher class and lower class relationship, dealt with how people blamed mental illness on anything to get the person locked up, the treatment of orphans, how men treat women of both classes, an awesome female friendship and family.

The only thing I didn’t like was how predictable who the main person behind the crimes was there were so many big hints right near the start.

The ending was perfect as it didn’t wrap up entirely but left hope for something to happen.


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