Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds Hardcover – April 2, 2013
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From School Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
It is evident that Winters did her research here (as consolidated by the brilliant author's note). With gauze masks covering three quarters of the face, public health warnings and signs littering the streets, and coffins spilling out of undertakers' homes, the so-called Spanish Flu is disturbingly ever-present throughout this book. It's a time when crowds were to be avoided, spitting was unacceptable, and coughing and sneezing were sure signs of something awful. Even kissing was discouraged, lest any level of intimacy or physical contact aid in the spread of the disease. Winters uses this setting wonderfully and with skill to build together a vivid picture of the paranoia and fear heightened during this time. There is a distinct and fitting bleakness to the story, further aided by the war effort and its contribution to the death toll.
It's in this time of confusion and sickness that we meet our young protagonist, Mary Shelley Black. Her childhood friend and sweetheart is the latest victim of the war, with his death and unexpected appearance in a spirit photograph creating the basis for the plot. Séances, unexplained phenomena and ghostly apparitions flit in and out of the reality of Mary Shelley's life, adding an appropriately chilling paranormal edge to the story.Read more ›
I've recently discovered I have a bit of a special place in my heart for historical YA and In the Shadow of Blackbirds was eerily fantastic. Mary Shelley is smart gal with a lot on her plate. As if worrying about contracting the flu wasn't enough to worry about, Mary Shelley can add a near death experience to her plate, and now a haunting from a childhood friend. She's stuck trying to figure out what is going on, who she can trust and not coming across as completely insane.
This book had absolute style. The cover is amazing. Mary Shelley's spirit photo with her goggles and the eerily aged filter pulls you right into the story from the beginning. Dispersed throughout the book are other photos from that period. Workers with masks, news articles, warning flyers keep you in the moment of this book.
The pacing slowly builds up to a fantastic ending that is one of the most intense scenes I've read in a book. I can't recommend this book enough.
When I first read the synopsis of the book, I had no idea how the title might tie into the story. Maybe it was a metaphor? The answer (or a piece of it) becomes clear about a third of the way through, and it sends Mary Shelley down a dangerous path to uncover the truth.
Winters creates a fantastic atmosphere of fear. It seems that death is lurking around every corner, and Winters' descriptions of overrun funeral homes, ambulances with day-long waiting periods, and people with gauze-covered faces to ward off germs capture the feeling perfectly. Mary Shelley is cautious, but not paranoid, while Aunt Eva is in full-on panic mode.Read more ›
The main problem that I had with this story was that there wasn't the feel of being "old". When I read good historical fiction, there seems to be a tone throughout the book, whether it's the description, the writing, or the voices of the characters. This book didn't have that at all. The only way I knew it was set in 1918 was because the main character, Mary Shelley, kept saying so or it said it in the letters. She sounded like a teenager of the day that was just plopped into 1918.
I didn't really like any of the characters. I wasn't invested emotionally in them and didn't really give a damn about them.
The author went overboard with trying making Mary Shelley quirky. For one, she was named Mary Shelley (and I never understood why they didn't just call her Mary), had her mother die in childbirth just like Mary Shelley's mother did, and was an inventor/curious/girl-ahead-of-her-time. I didn't buy it. She was just a bland character who had a thin back story that tried to make her unique.
Also the love story aspect was just blah for me. The letters that the love interest, Stephen, wrote were so obviously written by a woman author who thought that this is the best way for a man to write romantically to his love. But it didn't work and I was just thinking "Oh, for God's sake" when reading the letters.
I think that if Victoria Schwab wrote this, it would have blown my mind, and that's really all I could think of when reading this as my disappointment grew.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Young adult (which I'm not but enjoy anyway) fiction set in 1918. Great fiction combining period history and spiritualism. Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. Lewis
This book has a combination of my favorite topics. Strong women, historical fiction and paranormal. I love how Cat Winters combines real historical facts into the fictional story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
What an amazing read. Imagine life in San Diego in 1918, with the flu and fear gripping every nerve. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chris Fow Cohen
16-year-old Mary Shelley Black comes to San Diego in the height of World War I, an influenza outbreak, and the Spiritualist movement, there to find the death of a loved one test... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Juushika
I was a couple of chapters into the book before I began to get truly interested. The author clearly had done considerable research into the flu pandemic and the effects of the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Needs more character development. Some of the stories not developed enough and questions left unanswered. Needs more work!Published 5 months ago by Lucy Guay
A great book even for people like myself who don't care for YA. Cat Winters does a great job at creating atmosphere and making you believe you really are in San Diego in 1918.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer