In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Written by Cat Winters
Review by Rebecca Cochran

In 1918 San Diego, the population lives in fear: fear of the deadly Spanish influenza, and fear of the brutal war that is raging overseas. As their loved ones die and despair deepens, many turn to spirit photographers and séances in search of solace. Mary Shelley Black, at sixteen, copes with a life that seems eerie and dreamlike, one where everyone wears gauze masks and searches for ghosts. She herself has never believed in the supernatural, but life is changed forever when the news comes that her first love has been killed overseas. Then an unnerving event has her reconsidering the spirit world.

When this book first arrived, my teenage daughter picked it up because of its interesting cover art. She was immediately engrossed, devouring every word. Indeed, it has been a long time since a book has surprised and intrigued me as much as Winters’ debut novel. It is hard to put into words how extraordinary this story is. The unique plot continually surprises and shocks, and rich, descriptive detail brings it all vividly to life. From its first pages, one is captivated and transported into a chilling, haunted, and poignant world. Recommended with great praise.