In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Wow. I thought this was fantastic - one of the best books I've read in a long while.
When I think of 1918, I think of a world torn apart by war. I think of trenches and Kaiser Willhelm and a general fear that your father, husband, brother and/or son will never make it back to you. When I think of death in 1918, I picture a bleak image ...more
What an original little gem : this brilliant tale, served by a beautiful writing and a haunting atmosphere, is like nothing I've read before.
From page one I felt connected to every one of these characters, first of all Mary Shelley, a strong and clever heroine I instantly loved (I wish there were more YA leads like her, to be honest). In my opinion Cat Winters perfectly nailed the characterization, making me care for characters even before meeting them : how is that even possible? Before I knew ...more
IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS is a great atmospheric ghost story set in 1918 during a time of pestilence, war, famine and death where a brave sixteen year old Mary Shelley Black (Yep, named after the author) tells her amazing tale of young love, loss and connection to the spirit world.
This engaging young adult mystery is filled with wonderful haunting old pho...more
Some books should be sold with a companion novel, a cheerful, nonsensical one people would read immediately after the main story to lighten up their souls. If there was ever a book that left me in urgent need of some cheering up (and a cup of spicy hot chocolate), it’s this one. But would I change a single t ...more
What I love most from this book is how, through impressive research, Cat achieves an exceptionally poignant historical atmosphere from a time that saw through so much death and horror. The fall of 1918 had not only the highest death toll from the Sp ...more
War is never like the history books portray it. I'm not saying they lie- I'm saying they don't show you everything... or what's more like it, they tell you the stories, they don't t show it, and we readers know that by telling and not showing the majority of the emotions are drained. (I'm not complaining about history books, by the way. I'm just using them as starting point for my review).
History books tell you World War I started on 1914 and ended on 1918. History books tell you X amount of ...more
"Surely, though, I must have stolen into the future and landed in an H.G. Wells - style world -- a horrific, fantastical society in which people's faces contained only eyes, millions of healthy young adults and children dropped dead from the flu, boys got transported out of the country to be blown to bits, and the goverment arrested citizens for speaking the wrong words. Such a place couldn't be real. And it couldn't be the United States of America, 'the land of the free and the home of ...more
But some historical details were interesting. I indeed want to know more about onion syrup, sugar dipped in kerosene and onion baths as remedies against Spanish flu. Did they have flu deniers back then? Anti-maskers? An orange clown telling the flu wasn't real while millions were dying of it? I would have rather read ...more
What would you do if the ones you love are in danger? What would you do if the ghost of your beloved sweetheart comes back to haunt you?
Would you be willing to risk your safety-your life, even-just to find out the truth beneath it all? Would you have the courage to help him rest in peace?
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a mix of mystery, paranormal, superstition, romance and tragedy.
After reading all the praises for this book, I wa ...more
Another siren screamed by. That old bully Death breathed down my neck and nipped at my skin, warning, Don't waste one spare second of your time. If there are things you want to accomplish while ...more
“I think between the war and the flu, no one’s going to escape getting haunted. We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead.”
Horror is subjective, so not everyone will find the same things scary. In the Shadow of Blackbirds understands this, and creeps up on you in painfully honest ways. I really loved this.
Mary Shelley lives in a world on the verge of devastation. The year is 1918, and across the Atlantic, young American boys fight for their lives in the trenches at No Ma ...more
"The road ahead may be rather upsetting for a sixteen-year-old girl. I'm afraid your delicate female eyes and ears will experience some ugliness."
"Oh, you silly, naive men." I shook my weary head and genuinely pitied their ignorance. "You've clearly never been a sixteen-year-old girl in the fall of 1918."
And thank god for that. In the Shadows of Blackbirds is historical fiction at its best - so richly atmospheric and full of true accounts that it leaves you chilled to the ...more
This book put me through an emotional ringer.
I loved every bit of it.
I've be interested in the time period and the forgotten Pandemic of 1918 for sometime now, and curious in how Cat Winters would show this in her work. She nailed it. Down to the small details of how people reacted to those seemly healthy individuals dropping dead the next moment. Then you have soldiers coming from the trenches of the First World War, broken and soul-sick from the bloodshed. The dread, the helplessness and ...more
I could not put this book down, if I hadn't been so tired I probably would have read this in one sitting. I love it when an author lures you in right from the first chapter and the spell doesn' ...more
See, maybe I'm wrong and I'm not seeing the bigger picture but these are just my views. Why can't people just talk it ov ...more
The author did a wonderful job in creating atmosphere and I was (and still am) fascinated by the historical setting. The story is set during World War 1, the world has turned upside down and young men are dying in the trenches. At the home front people were battling their own enemy in the form of the Spanish Influenza epidemic. It’s no wonder that this period in history saw an upsurge in spiritualism, mediums and the need to make contact with a dead loved one.
The story also made some re ...more
The story takes place in 1918, during the time of the Spanish influenza. Our plucky and intelligent heroine Mary Shelley Black has never believed in ghosts, that is until her first love tragically dies in battle and returns as a traumatised spirit. Shocked beyond belief Shelley is determined to find out the true cause of his death.
It's clear that Winters has done her research, she paints a bleak and drear ...more
'Stay still. Smile. And summon the dead.'
Mary Shelley Black is a sixteen year old girl living in a war ravaged world. After her father is arrested she is forced to flee and stays with her Aunt in San Diego. After losing her father and finding out that her childhood love, Stephen, has lost his life in the war, Mary Shelley struggles desperately to cling to a reason to continue living when she's ...more
"Was I dreaming? ...
Surely, though, I must have stolen into the future and landed in an H. G. Wells -- style world -- a horrific, fantastical society in which people's faces contained only eyes, millions of healthy young adults and children dropped dead from the flu, boys got transported out of the country to be blown to bits, and the government arrested citizens for speaking the wrong words. Such a place couldn't be real. And it couldn't be the Un ...more
Four and a half stars: An amazing, well researched, haunting debut!
Mary Shelley Black boards the train. She is surrounded by a sea of frightened, masked passengers. They are leaving Portland, Oregon headed to San Diego in hopes of escaping the deathly Spanish Flu. The flu epidemic is sweeping the country and killing people in record numbers. Every sneeze or cough sets people on edge as it is viewed as a possible flu contamination. Mary Shelley, however, refuses to let the flu hold her back. At t ...more
Wow! This one was a really nice surprise. Dark, atmospheric and completely haunting. Cat Winters, where have you been all my life?
I picked up In the Shadow of Blackbirdsup on a whim at the library. I admit that it was solely based on the cover and I had never heard a thing about it. I'm so grateful that I chose this one, I literally stayed up all night to read this one. Yep, it was a one sit ...more
Mary Shelley Black is as peculiar as her name. A sixteen year old scientifically inclined girl who dismisses spiritualism, relying on logic and hard-facts proven beyond doubt.
The year is 1918, the villain is the Flu. The Flu: the reason people bathe themselves in the repugnant smells of onions and camphor balls, deluding themselves with a false sense of protection. Or maybe it's the war? The war which drives the hopeless to seek solace in the f ...more
Always set in a time of our world that was both fascinating in it's advances and prehistoric in it's ideas and technology, and every bit as horrifying as it is captivating, her debut novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds was every bit as good as her latest releases.
Having read all of her books out of order, I can say that I truly hav ...more
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