Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Published: 10.27.15
Pages: 496
Acquired: Barnes & Noble 
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0


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 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 revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was 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. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, 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.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

My Review: 

For Halloween I was looking for a good mystery to get absorbed in. When I heard Jennifer Donnelly had a new thriller coming out, I was intrigued. When I found out it was a new Historical Fiction thriller I was SOLD. If you haven't picked up one of Jennifer's historical fiction books, what are you waiting for? 

This story is about Jo, a young socialite who dreams of becoming a reporter, during a time when women were only destined to get married.  Her quest for knowledge and information is put to the test, when her Father dies, believed to have accidently shot himself while cleaning a gun.  Jo knowing what an expert gunsman her father was, finds the truth hard to believe. Determined to find out the truth of what actually happened Jo uncovers some some dark truth of her family and their business with the help of a dashing reporter who works for her family's newspaper. How much will she risk to find out the truth? 

There were many things that I really enjoyed about this book. First I the time period, I am a big fan of historical fiction and loved being taken back to times of finishing schools and debutante balls and 
ball gowns. I also really enjoyed the overall storyline and plot. There were a lot of twists and turns that I did not see coming and the story kept you riveted and turning the page to see what was going to happen next. The ending was one that I did not see coming and the truth to her father's death even more shocking. 

The only real issue I had with the book was the length of the chapters. Some chapters were as short as only a few pages at most. I know this might sound ridiculous and to some people the shortness of each chapters could even be desirable. But for me, I found the shortness of chapters as a disservice to the book. It did not flow as freely and just as soon as story would pick up the chapter would stop and the story would hault. My other issue was some of the twist in the story became repetitive and started to lack the surprise factor that other plot twists had.

Overall this was a story I did enjoy and one I will be keeping on my shelves. For me Jennifer Donnelly had done it again and I can't wait to read more by her. 


  1. This was actually my favorite book by JD and I must look for her other books! I hear Northern Lights is great.

    Yeah I didn't realize that this book was that long, but upon reflecting on my reading experience, I do remember a lot of "waiting." I agree that the mystery wasn't that thrilling, but I loved the characters!

    1. Northern Lights was good. Very different type of book for her. Very moving. My favorites is still her adult series, The Tea Rose! I haven't started her Deep Blue series though, but I am going to give it a shot in 2016!


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