These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (DNF)

these shallow graves graphic

these shallow gravesThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

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Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

DNF @27%

This book was supposed to be my saving grace for all things spooky, intriguing, and mysterious. It was not very spooky, mysterious, or intriguing for me, though. I’m think I might need to create a shallow grave for all of my hopes and dreams for this poor book.

It is clear that Donnelly has talent and is a good writer, but she simply lost me in the 130 pages that I read of this book. I found myself dragging in the sea of words and seemingly pointless expeditions. Yes, there was twists and turns, but it seemed like it was forever to actually get anywhere.

I already fell the shame of Snow’s judging smile.


The main issue that I had was our narrator and how she seemed to forget everything every time she got around the love interest. I love me some good side romance in mysteries – in fact, it’s one of my favorite type of ships. However, it seemed like in the middle of every dire and intense and dangerous situation that Jo would get into, she would be like, my, Eddie sure is looking dreamy. Literally, they were locked in a closet with a potential killer on the other side and all she could focus on was him maybe kissing her??? I wanted so much more focus on the mystery, and perhaps a bit more on the thrills…instead of focusing on the potential swoony-ness of Eddie.

These Shallow Graves also had potential to make some very interesting feminist points, and I did like how Jo didn’t want to stay in her place in society. She was independent, and I think as the story went on, she would get simply more and more, which would be fantastic to read. However, the romance was bogging down a lot of that growth for me.

This story had potential, but it wasn’t enough to keep me thralled. Since it’s a DNF, it’s sadly a Snow White rating and no crowns.

What do you think? What was your last favorite mystery read? Let’s discuss in the comments below! ~ Mandy

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8 thoughts on “These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (DNF)

  1. I agree it’s not very spooky or mysterious. I read it soon after reading Donnelly’s other book (Revolution), so I pretty much expected a historical fiction book, rather than a true mystery. I can’t remember much else about it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s weird because it’s on my favourites shelf and I remember next to nothing about it. I think my shelf is in need of a look through, since I should definitely be able to remember a book I supposedly really enjoyed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh no! I definitely had a few of those too and it totally messes with you since you don’t remember why it’s there. I wish you luck with the look through because that’s when it always gets interesting. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover is really cool and would have made me pick it up!
    Too bad it wasn’t as spooky as you expected. I like those kinds of books, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no! Again with the very badly placed moment for romantic bits! Sighhhh So sorry this did not work out for you Mandy!! And the cover is stunning, so it is sad that there cannot be a matching stunning, spooky story!

    Liked by 1 person

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