Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Name: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date published: 2015
Rating: 4/5

Josephine Montfort is from one of New York's oldest, most respected and wealthiest families. Like most well-off girls of the Gilded Age, her future looks set - after a finishing school education, she will be favourably married off to a handsome gentleman, after which she'll want for nothing. But Jo has other dreams and desires that make her long for a very different kind of future. She wants a more meaningful and exciting life: she wants to be an investigative journalist like her heroine Nelly Bly. But when Jo's father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than even Jo would wish. Unable to accept that her father could have been so careless, she begins to investigate his death with the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher. It quickly becomes clear he was murdered, and in their race against time to discover the culprit and his motive, Jo and Eddie find themselves not only battling dark characters on the violent and gritty streets of New York, but also their growing feelings for each other.
- From Goodreads.

These Shallow Graves was an exciting story and a clever mystery with some humourous moments and a wonderful romance.
Donnelly used the plot, setting and characters well to show the struggle in women's search for equality, with Jo coming up against obstacles because of her gender and learning that she believes that these obstacles should not exist, as well as to show issues with class and how the upper and lower classes feel towards each other. It appeared to be a very well-researched book, as its setting in time and place seemed very real and as a reader I was very much immersed in the story because of the thought that had gone into the background.
I did guess a couple of the small parts of the mystery, but for the most part, Donnelly had written the mystery so well that I was unravelling the answers along with Jo, and there were a couple of plot twists at the end that I definitely did not see coming, and the reveals of which I thought were really well executed. It was an exciting story that always left me wanting to know more and kept me on my feet, with intriguing and surprising characters, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys both murder mysteries and young adult novels, because this was a brilliant combination of both.

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My copy of this book was received from Maximum Pop Books as a prize from a competition.


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