Title: In The Shadow Of Blackbirds
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication: April 2, 2013
Cover Rating: 5/5
I should have read this book in a day. Just sat down and said screw all of my other chores and responsibilities. Instead, I read the book in a week. I had a huge impact on me but I think it would have been sooo much better if I had read it in one sitting.
So, WWI and Spanish Influenza. Scary stuff. Especially with the war going on right now plus Ebola starting to spread. This book hit very close to home right now.
Mary Shelley Black is such a stunning, spitfire character. She doesn't let anyone try to tell her where her place should be just because she is a girl. She is smart and very headstrong.
Stephen is much the same way as Mary except, well, he's a guy. And guys are supposed to be headstrong and all those other macho blah blah words. But he is also very fragile. He has an artists soul and never should have gone to war. He wasn't brave enough to stick out his troubles at home so what made him think he could last in a war? Well, I guess he had to learn the hard way and lose his life in the process.
This book is so sad. Young love and death seem to come hand-in-hand when war is around. This story is no exception to that. It seems like everyone in this book has lost at least one loved one.
I loved the historical and spiritual aspects of the book. I have been really into Historical+Paranormal Young Adult books lately. The world that Cat Winters created in this book feels so real. People believed in ghosts and spirits and all sorts of paranormal things back then and the author really brought that to life.
The one question I had through the entire book was "How did Julius know Stephen was dead when he JUST got home the same time Mary and Eva got there AND his mother JUST found Stephen the minute he walked in the door?" Julius told Mary that Stephen died a hero's death even before he could have known he was dead. Of course, that was answered. But the answer was a lot different than I thought. I always suspected Julius but the answer I got wasn't what I was thinking. Not by a long shot.
I have no idea how Mary Shelley survived everything she went through. She died multiple times, got sick and had a concussion. Come on now. If that doesn't say Strong, Independent Woman, I don't know what does!
In the end, I am glad Mary Shelley helped Stephen move on. And I am glad they were able to let each other go. Love is hard, but it's harder when you start it and never get to finish it. No, love is never finished, but Mary and Stephen's love was cut off so quickly, the never got to declare anything or share any pivotal moments that a couple should share.
Now, the only question I have left is what will happen to Mary Shelley's dad? The war is over and I don't think he even had his trial yet. Will they let him go? Will they still charge him for war crimes? I hope they let him go. Mary Shelley has lost enough for the time being.
Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 kitties!