by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Penguin Random House
Narrator: Kim Bubbs
Length: 13 hours and 31 minutes
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Suspense
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
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.
“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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