Heather Pearson's Reviews > Picture the Dead

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin
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's review
Feb 20, 2012

Read in February, 2012 , read count: 1

The years of the American Civil War (1861-1865) were a time of much turmoil in the country. North against the South, neighbour against neighbour even brother against brother. It was also a time of limited communications. Written letters could take weeks if not months for delivery, if they made it to their destination at all. Those waiting at home for their loved ones might never know details of their fate.

Sixteen year old Jennie Lovell has not yet accepted the death of her brother Tobias, and now she is confronted with the death of her cousin and fiance Will. While she knows that Toby died from an illness, she has no clue as to why Will won't be coming home to marry her. She hopes that when cousin Quinn recovers from his wounds, he will be willing and able to answer her questions.

Quinn has returned home seriously wounded and reluctant to talk about his experiences. Jennie senses that there is something he is not telling her. She also thinks that the ghosts of her brother and fiance have returned home to comfort her. or are they trying to tell her something.

From the first pages, I found this a very enticing book. The events have already happened and we follow along with Jennie, finding the clues to uncover the truth. Author Adele Griffin made me feel as though I was truly reading words written by a 16 year old girl who had been brought up in a very sheltered existence. She was not worldly and had very little idea of how war could change men, that nice, civil men could lie, cheat, steal and even murder when their survival was threatened. Picture the Dead does talk about the Civil War, but it is not about the war, rather it is about it's impact on one particular group of young men. It also explores the practice of spirit photography. From approximately 1860 til 1930, there was a belief that the image of ghosts could be captured in photographs. Jennie must ask herself whether these ghosts are trying to pass her a message or are they there to comfort her in her grief.


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