These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
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.
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.
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