Expected publication date: 02/04/13GoodReads Summary: 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?
- Add to GoodReads
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a dark and beautiful story that had me on the verge of tears.
The story takes place in 1918, during the time of the Spanish influenza. Our plucky and intelligent heroine Mary Shelley Black has never believed in ghosts, that is until her first love tragically dies in battle and returns as a traumatised spirit. Shocked beyond belief Shelley is determined to find out the true cause of his death.
It's clear that Winters has done her research, she paints a bleak and dreary picture of a world that has been torn apart by the war. Young men are sent to battle, the Spanish influenza is fast spreading, and desperate mourners find themselves seeking comfort from séances and spirit photographers. To add to this atmosphere of desperation and death black and white pictures are littered throughout the novel giving the reader a feel of life in 1918.
Mary Shelley Black is different from other girls her age, she has a fascination and passion for science. She is a like a modern day girl living in the past. The romance between Mary and her childhood friend Stephen is told through letters and flashbacks. It was sweet and touching, making it even more insufferable to witness the two in such pain. My heart just ached for them.
A gripping, emotional, and heartbreaking read. I can say without a doubt that In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one of my favourite standalone books of the year so far.