Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

24187925Title: These Shallow Graves

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Random House Delacorte

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks to the publisher.

These Shallow Graves follows the adventures of Jo Montfort in her efforts to strike justice for her father’s murderer. Due to Jo’s position in high society, she must sneak around at night to uncover her father’s killer. Jo befriends a reporter at a local paper, Eddie Gallagher, who agrees to help her expose her father’s murderer in exchange to write about the events in the paper. Each clue that brings her closer to the truth only leaves Jo with more questions. Before Jo can fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation, she is in too deep and must reveal the truth before she is discovered.

As far as the characters go, I didn’t hate Jo, but she did annoy me at times. I understand that Jo has lived a very sheltered life, but she is certainly the most naïve character I have ever come across. Jo also couldn’t take a hint. It would take someone explaining a situation five or six times before Jo realized or understood. Jo was also very conflicted. She wanted to be with the boy she loved, but was afraid of going against her mother’s wishes. That brings me to the romance. The romance in this story fell flat for me. The romance felt force and I never felt that spark.

This is a long book. I really enjoy a long read, but it has to really capture my attention. Unfortunately, this book failed in that department. While this book was thoroughly interesting, I found myself taking my time to finish. For me, this book wasn’t an attention absorbing read and I didn’t have a problem putting it down to attend to other things. Some scenes were drawn out and made particular sections slow. This was a bit of a disappointment.

Overall, the story line wasn’t bad. It was interesting enough for me to keep reading and there were even a few surprises along the way (one I didn’t even expect). Although this story did not feel like much of a thriller, the mystery is strong. I didn’t guess a few outcomes until much later in the story. If you have been interested in reading this book, I would definitely give it a try.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Meet The Author


Jennifer Donnelly is the author of seven novels – Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second book, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015.

Jennifer lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her website.


3 thoughts on “Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

  1. I love it when I can’t solve a mystery before the end of the book! I have been really curious about These Shallow Graves for a while, so I’ll be giving it a shot! I also love its cover! Happy Tuesday! 🙂


  2. Ah, it’s the shame that it didn’t quite capture your attention the way you wanted it to and let you down a bit like that, especially for its length. This is one I have heard quite a bit about and I like the cover and premise, so now it is on my TBR~


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