These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

November 23rd, 2015 kimbacaffeinate Review 57 Comments

23rd Nov
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
These Shallow Graves
by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Penguin Random House
Narrator: Kim Bubbs
Length: 13 hours and 31 minutes
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Suspense
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

From Jennifer Donnelly, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of A Northern Light and Revolution, comes a mystery about dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge. For fans of Elizabeth George and Libba Bray, These Shallow Graves is the story of how much a young woman is willing to risk and lose in order to find the truth. 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 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 shot himself while cleaning his pistol. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was a partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun. The more Jo hears about her father’s death, the more something feels wrong. Suicide is the only logical explanation, and of course people have started talking, but Jo’s father would never have resorted to that. And then she meets Eddie—a young, smart, 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. But 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 this time the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Audiobook coverlove historical MURDERMYSTERY Young Adult

“The truth can be a hard thing, Jo. It’s often best left hidden,” Phillip said quietly.

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly shares the coming of age story of a young 19th century girl who struggles with the restrictions of her status as she embarks on a risky journey to find the answers to her father’s death. The tale that unfolds is a suspenseful thriller with a forbidden romance. Beautifully written and narrated by Kim Bubbs I slipped right into this engaging tale.

Five Reason to Grab Your Earbuds and Listen to These Shallow Graves

  • Beautiful prose, intrigue and engaging characters made this murder mystery a pleasure to listen too. Donnelly takes us to the darkest corners of nineteenth century New York. Jo Montfort is a member of the upper class and bound to its expectations. Pampered and sheltered from the world she longs to be a newspaper reporting like Nellie Bly. Naturally curious, Jo is troubled by the death of her father. Ruled a suicide Jo is determined to prove foul play was involved. Her journey will take her into the dark underbelly of New York and introduces her to a young, handsome reporter named Eddie. Together they work to solve the mystery as more murders occur and soon find themselves in danger. While, I solved the mystery early, the tale to discover motive was a pleasurable and suspenseful ride.
  • Jo Montfort is spunky, clever and strong-willed making her an interesting character. I loved her deduction skills and tenacious curiosity but Donnelly showed us her nativity towards the real world around her. She perfectly depicts how sheltered these 1890 debutants were. Eddie Gallagher is an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the darker sides of the city from the corrupt police department to the horrors of the orphanages. He admires Jo, but also sees how naïve she is. A slow-building, swoon-worthy romance develops and the forbidden aspect tugged at my heartstrings. Donnelly allows them to really get to know each other and with it, we see growth in Jo. These two are far from perfect and I liked exposing their flaws.
  • The questions surrounding the death of Jo’s father and the subsequent murders lead us on a trail of secrets, conspiracies and cover-ups. Donnelly did a wonderful job of executed this compelling mystery. She created mysterious villains and foul characters for the couple to face as they unearthed clues. Twists, and turns made for a great listen that slowly built up in intensity as Jo finally uncovers the truth. One that might just get kill her.
  • Donnelly brought Victorian New York to life with her beautiful prose and well researched depictions. The more they learn the deeper into the underbelly of the city Jo travels. All of which gives her a rude awaken into the lives of the lower class. From brothels to the decrepit housing conditions Jo gains quite the education. She meets and befriends Fay, a pickpocket and despite living on the street, she sees similarities between the two of them.
  • Fans of historical fiction and clever murder mysteries will appreciate Donnelly’s attention to detail and beautiful writing style. Kim Bubbs did a wonderful job in her narration of the story from her tone to each unique voice she gave the characters. These Shallow Graves is a standalone novel and perfect for Fall. Donnelly wraps up the murder mystery and will leaves readers satisfied with its conclusion.

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About Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of seven novels – Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times. Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal. Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence. In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second book, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015. Jennifer lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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57 Responses to “These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly”

  1. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    Everyone loves and admires Donnelly so much, including Maggie Stiefvater, that I find myself just a tiny bit intimidated by her work. Still, I’ll be giving this a try, on audio, naturally, and another one of hers I got from Netgalley.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: IlluminaeMy Profile

  2. Jenny

    I’ve heard good things about Jo Kim, I’m looking forward to meeting her! And of course you had me sold at a slow-building romance that had a forbidden aspect. Nothing better than a forbidden romance for me! Hoping to make time for this one soon:)
    Jenny recently posted…Review: Not If I See You FirstMy Profile

  3. Lily B

    I didn’t mind the writing. But I guess this didn’t work for me because, 1 I felt like the world she showed us was either really good, or really bad, no in between. 2. I get the time period and why the MC was naive, but honestly there was NO character growth. Even after learning about all these shaddy people, she is still ends up so damn trusting and almost gets herself killed more then once (the scene with the woman offering her a ride comes to mind) 3. It was amazing how naive she was about the murdered. I had it pegged from the beginning >.<
    Lily B recently posted…Thankful for You Giveaway Hop!My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Sadly during this period the worlds were vastly divided between the upper echelons and the seedy underworld. Most young elite were never exposed to it and even more so if they were female.. Sorry this one didn’t work out for you and yes she was terribly naive and far too trusting. As for the mystery, yep I did too, but enjoyed seeing it unfold.

  4. Nick

    I should be reading this one soon, Kim, but I’m happy to see that you enjoyed it for the most part. I love the idea of the setting and the slow building swoony romance. I’m going to have to prepare myself for her naivety though. That tends to drive me a little mad in murder mystery novels.
    Lovely review!
    Nick recently posted…Mini Reviews: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart/First & ThenMy Profile

  5. Tracy Terry

    I’m glad that this sounds realistic. I seem to have read a spate of historical fiction in which the characters haven’t acted as people living in that period would and whilst I’m all for a bit of poetical licence I’m afraid at the same time I like my novels to be at least the teeniest bit plausible.
    Tracy Terry recently posted…AN EGGSTRAORDINARY MEDIA MONDAY POST!My Profile

  6. Madiha

    I agree! I fell in love with Donnelly’s world building, to say the least, and I absolutely adored how she constructed a lot of key areas in These Shallow Graves. While I thought the mystery aspect was a bit predictable, I do think in all other areas this book absolutely excelled! I especially loved Jo’s relationship with Eddie – it was a perfect slow burn romance that I shipped to the end 🙂

  7. Heidi

    Reviews have been so mixed for this one. I have an ARC and I keep shelving it, Your review has encouraged me to give it a go. I like the sound of the mystery.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I did solve it fairly early but the reasons made it an enjoyable mystery. I think folks struggled with Jo and her trusting and naive nature but I personally felt it was true to the period.

  8. Lorna

    I really liked the cover as well. I have read one other review(can’t remember whose) and I think you liked it better. Sounds like it would be an interesting read if you like historical mysteries 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the read!