As listed on one of my previous book lists, I finally got around to starting "These Shallow Graves" by Jennifer Donnelly. The premise of this book is that the main character, Jo Montfort, receives the dreadful news that her father is dead. Set in Victorian New York, Jo comes from an upper-class life of ease; an easy life full of rules and etiquette that she struggles to follow. She must behave like a proper lady for her time, but would much rather be writing for a newspaper as a journalist about social issues. She can't quite seem to find a place among her friends and family with her "odd" behavior.
So, when the news comes that her father accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun, Jo knows something is wrong. She begins to suspect that the trigger was pulled on purpose and by someone else. Jo teams up with a reporter named Eddie to discover the truth; as she begins to fall for him, she must figure out how to balance her proper life and her passion.
The premise of this book is interesting. While the plot itself isn't the most original, it still has a unique setting and is entertaining to read. As a murder mystery, it succeeds it keeping me guessing throughout the book. There were times I felt some of the reveals were a little cliché or the plot was moving too slow or fast, but overall, I couldn’t guess who the killer was before the end of the book. Not being able to guess the mystery is one of the strongest points a murder mystery book can have, after all!
There were a few points that seem to be teaching the reader about the injustice women faced back in this time, but in a way, that is obvious. Such as, the female characters will tell Jo that she can't do something because she is a woman, and Jo thinks about how she wishes she had the same freedoms as a man. While it's clear that Jo is a forward-thinking woman, I felt as if her thoughts and those around her were a little too on-the-nose, and didn't trust the reader to interpret the oppressed state of women without explicitly having the characters say it.
Overall, I enjoyed reading "These Shallow Graves". I recommend it to anyone who wants to get into the murder mystery, Victorian New York mood. It took me a little bit to get into the book, but once I got halfway in, I was entranced and couldn't put it down.