In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Set during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, Winters’ novel is the first person narrative of Mary Shelley Black, a sixteen-year-old girl dealing with the recent arrest of her father and loss of her childhood sweetheart, Stephen. Shortly after learning of Stephen’s death in WWI, Mary Shelley is struck by lightning, dies, and returns to life with the ability to commune with the dead. Using her new-found power, Mary Shelley must discover what really happened to Stephen (who now haunts her) so that he can finally rest in peace.

Winters’ novel is essentially a ghost story, and it’s a pretty good one. There were some legitimately scary parts, and, since the novel is set during war time, a good amount of blood and guts as well. The mystery surrounding Stephen’s death is intriguing — you’ll definitely want to keep reading to find out what’s really going on. It’s not easy to guess either, and the twist at the end left me at least a little surprised.

If you’re not a big fan of historical fiction, this book is still very enjoyable. It’s set during the 1910’s, but doesn’t feel dated and it isn’t hard to read at all. It’s actually very interesting to read about a time when the flu (which today usually isn’t that big of deal) killed thousands of people in the U.S., and when people were obsessed with spirits. Definitely worth the read if you’re craving a good ghost story!

This one has a great book trailer! Click here to watch.

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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