Book Review: In The Shadow of Blackbirds
Winters has this fantastic way of writing everything around some obscure concept. In The Cure For Dreaming, it was hypnotism in the midst of a feminist revolution. In The Shadow of Blackbirds, it’s spiritual photography and séances, speaking with the dead, during a fatal flu epidemic and the war. Spiritual photography is interesting enough on its own, but use that as a platform for another strong minded young girl who is fighting for her voice and for the spirit of a loved one against many who are trying to silence her and you have yet another amazing book on your hands.
Mary Shelley Black is again an incredible character. So strong, intelligent, strange but in an inspiring and liberating way. And she’s surrounded by a murder of similarly interesting characters, her beloved Steven, his brother Julias (the Spiritual Photographer) and her fearful and strict aunt Eva.
This is a love story. A romance buried deep within the supernatural that you almost don’t even realize it’s a romance. The chemistry between Mary Shelley and Steven is electric, you might say, especially given the strange circumstances. And for a time when women are desperately seeking husbands, this love is genuine and true. I love the relationships Winters develops in books and wish there were more like them elsewhere.
I’ve read a lot of horror books and a lot of books that claim to be creepy. This one doesn’t sell itself on the creep factor but reading it alone at night definitely had my hairs standing on end. The talk of ghosts and spirits and how descriptive the story is at sharing Mary Shelley’s experiences, I certainly had a few nights where it was difficult to fall asleep in the dark. Not to mention the horrific brutalities of war and the sad realities of the flu, this was no means an easy or light read.
It was, however, another clever and beautifully dark and interesting book. Winters continues to amaze me with her talents and imagination, as well as her thoroughly researched historical facts. For a debut, this book was stunning. I wish I hadn’t already read The Cure for Dreaming yet because I would do almost anything for another Cat Winters book. (** In fact, Winters has another book – The Uninvited – coming out August 11, 2015. Going to have to get my hands on this ASAP!**)
april 2, 2013