“Don’t ever worry what the boys who don’t appreciate originality think of you. They’re fools.”
In The Shadow of Blackbird begins in 1918, with Mary going to live with her Aunt in San Diego after her father is arrested. Mary is sceptical of ghosts, and of Julius’ ‘spirit photography’, but soon begins to believe in them after the death of her beloved during the war. It’s a gripping story about a girl during the Great War and the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza.
I was recommended this by Michelle who responded to my request, and I’m grateful to her because this was a really great book, and I may not have read it otherwise.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is not a light-hearted read, but is much more dark and chilling than I originally thought. It has a great atmosphere that is made even better by the images within the novel. They make it all the more creepy and mysterious.
I loved the mystery – what happened to Stephen? There were several twists and turns throughout the story which ensured that I had a difficult time putting it down because I wanted to find out more. When it was revealed what had happened, I was in utter shock, especially about who were involved.
It was not just the atmosphere, mystery and the writing (which was great) that kept me on my toes, but the characters also. I really enjoyed Mary Shelley Black and found her such an original and compelling character. She went against all the stereotypical views of women in the early 1900’s. She had some awesome goggles, and she loved science and electricity and she was a fierce girl who didn’t take crap from anyone. She was a very refreshing character, and I loved her development throughout the novel. She went from not believing, to doubtful, to having faith in the spirit world. I also loved her friendship with Eva, and even though Eva’s blind trust of Julius annoyed me, I admired her as a character and a woman during the war.
Then there’s Stephen…
“And all the while Stephen started at me as if I were something magical. Not the ugly way other people sometimes stare at me, like he was meeting someone in a foreign country who spoke his language when no one else could. That’s how it’s been between us ever since. We understand each other, even when we astound each other.”
He was a genuinely kind person, and I had deep admiration for him, alive and dead.
Well worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of historical fiction.