Posted in Young Adult Lit

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

13112915In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
2013 Amulet Books
ISBN – 9781419705304
Genre – Historical Fiction, Mystery
Age – High School
4.5 Stars


The year is 1918, and America is plagued by the Spanish Influenza and the tragedy of WWII. After her father is arrested, Mary Shelley Black is forced to leave her home  in Portland Oregon to live with her aunt in San Diego. She arrives in California only to find out that her childhood friend who joined the army months ago, did not survive. Although many who have lost loved ones to the flu or the war have turned to spirit photographers in order to remember the dead, Mary Shelly does not believe in spirits. That is until her childhood friend’s spirit begins to visit her. Can she help him, and put his soul to rest?

This book was really well written. From the very beginning I was left wondering what was coming next. Everything from minute details to  the major plot was mysterious. I always love a good historical fiction, especially when it revolves around “plagues.” I was pleasantly surprised at how seamlessly Cat Winters was able to meld this genre along with mystery.  Not only was the story well-rounded and intelligently (and accurately) thought out, but the characters had an amazing amount of depth. Even the characters that were unlikable were wonderfully fleshed out. Throughout reading this novel, I really felt like I was inside of the world. I am really looking forward to her next book, unfortunately I will have to wait a year. How refreshing!

4 thoughts on “In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

  1. I thought I’d really get into this one but I was disappointed. I thought the writer bit off a little too much. Just because the flu, WWI, spiritualism, and government crackdowns were going on, didn’t mean she had to include it all. I also found the plot a little too conveniently wrapped up and a bit hard to swallow. Overall the writing is sound. Surprisingly, I liked We Hear The Dead much better.

    1. How sad. I suppose that I get tunnel vision, when I love a book, I just assume most others will too! Although I admit, I can see your point, there was a lot going on in this book. However, there was a lot going on in this time period, so I can appreciate that this story involves all of it, at the risk of biting off too much, rather than ignoring an aspect because she can’t make it work. Thanks for your perspective, and I have added We Hear the Dead to my reading list!

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