13. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Teen Books

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin, 262 pages, read by Courtney, on 04/08/2012

Here we have a historical drama, a mystery and a ghost story all wrapped up in one nice literary package. Jennie Lovell was engaged to her cousin Will before he left to go fight for the Union in the Civil War. When his brother, Quinn, is the only one to return, the family is devastated, particularly Jennie. Even more unfortunate for Jennie is the fact that her fiancee’s family treats Jennie with apathy at best and ire at worst. She had been preparing to become the lady of the house but now find herself doing the maid’s work. In their grief, Jennie’s uncle decides to contact a spirit photographer in an effort to commune with their lost son. The whole family goes in for a photograph, in spite of their skepticism. Shortly afterward, the injured Quinn begins courting Jennie, who grudging accepts his favors. Around this time, she begins noticing signs that could only have been left by Will, who, according to Quinn, is not the man she thought she knew. Is Will trying to hurt her or warn her?
This book also features a “scrapbook” made by Jennie containing photos, letters and other bits of ephemera from her life. These elements introduce each chapter rather nicely, though they look a little too “friendly” to be scary or creepy. The story moves a bit slow, and readers won’t likely be too surprised by the secrets revealed by the end. It is, however, a very nice Civil War novel that focuses more on life at home rather than the battlefield.

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