These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennfier Donnelly
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly 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 accidentally 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 uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. 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. Only now it might be too late to stop.
Life is dirtier than Jo Monfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.
First Sentence: Josephine Montfort stared at the newly mounded grave in front of her and at the wooden cross marking it.
I received a copy of the book from BEA in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
I originally wasn’t planning on reading These Shallow Graves. I had no clue what These Shallow Graves was about – all I knew was that I wouldn’t want to read it because the things I’ve heard about Jennifer Donnelly’s other books didn’t fit my reading tastes. However, I picked up These Shallow Graves on a chance encounter at BEA – this is starting to sound like something on a dating show now – actually read the synopsis for the first time, and was like hey, why not? I do enjoy reading crime novels after all. After reading These Shallow Graves, all I can do is shrug and say that it’s sadly nothing special.
It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be. Jo stood up on shaking legs and approached the reporter.
“How dare you. The dreadful thing you just said…” (ARC 31)
My one main complaint about These Shallow Graves is that it was WAY too long. I figured out who the culprit was less than one-fourth into the book – I bet others would too – and as I read on, I found so many parts of These Shallow Graves that was just plain unnecessary. All those additional parts of the book did was just make the book drag on and on and on with all those small events that can easily be inserted into other areas of the book. I can cut out about one hundred unnecessary pages and you’ll still get the overall essence of the story.
I wasn’t sold on the romance either. Jo and Eddie had barely talked and Eddie was rude for at least a fourth of the time they had talked. Before I knew it, Jo and Eddie were kissing and declaring their love for one another. Jo and Eddie’s relationship had no buildup whatsoever besides the cliche stuck-in-a-close-space-and-almost-kissing scene. I really wanted to root for the couple because I love reading love stories where a rich person and a poor person want to be together but can’t because of society’s constraints, but with Jo and Eddie, they lacked the reason and chemistry that will cause me to root for them.
Eddie had pulled her back to him and kissed her again. Slowly and deeply.
“Still sorry?” he’d asked, his voice husky.
“Yes,” Jo had said. (ARC 133)
I also understand that back then in the 1890s, rich society girls were incredibly sheltered and protected from the world. However, constantly witnessing Jo’s naivety due to her being protected and sheltered slowly grew annoying until I was just plain frustrated. I understand that Jo is sheltered, but after there were three different hints dropped, shouldn’t she know?
Overall, don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy These Shallow Graves even with its flaws. However, it sadly isn’t a book I’ll be recommending to others anytime soon.