Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 387
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Also by Cat Winters:
The Cure for Dreaming
Mary Shelley Black is named after, you guessed it, the author of Frankenstein. She is living in America during the Spanish Flu of 1918 and WWI; the country is paranoid about spies and germs and no one rests easy. After her father is arrested for voicing his political opinion Mary Shelly is sent to live with her young widowed aunt where she is reunited with her childhood crush Steven and his older brother who is a spirit photographer claiming to capture spirits of the dead in the photographs of loved ones. Mary Shelley doesn't believe in spirit photography, she prefers science, but events begin to change her mind.
First of all, I love Cat Winters' novels. She is so great at paranormal historical fiction, and this novel along with The Cure for Dreaming weaves in old photographs into the story that really add to the creepy atmosphere of the novel. The second thing I love about Cat Winters is the way she writes young female characters that defy their time-period and seek independence. Mary Shelley is a young woman interested in science, something quite uncommon and frowned upon by 1918 standards. She is outspoken and never shy about voicing her opinion.
This book was actually much darker and more emotional than I expected it to be. The added element of WWI and Mary Shelley's childhood crush going off to war added a depth of emotion to the creepy elements of the story. I think I would go as far as to say that I liked this one more than The Cure for Dreaming which is saying a lot. I loved the science elements and how they mixed with the spiritual elements of the novel. I loved the part where Mary Shelley goes to the library and reads poems and first hand accounts of the war (naturally) and I loved the photographs chosen for this novel.
This is a perfect Halloween read for those who like historical fiction or paranormal. Winters builds the terrified and death-filled atmosphere of 1918 America perfectly, and the mystery element of the plot is quite intense and hard to put down.