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In the Shadow of Blackbirds - Cat Winters Review:Short and Sweet:I absolutely loved this book. It was gorgeous, interesting, creepy, heartbreaking, insightful. Just a stunning book. I can't recommend this one enough!To Elaborate....In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one of those books I almost didn't pick up. I am fascinated by WWI, especially the year 1918 and the Spanish influenza, but I wasn't as interested in the second half of the books blurb concerning the spiritual fascination of the time. I am SO glad I did pick it up. This was just one of those books that I couldn't put down. I didn't want to sleep, or eat, or leave my house. :) It was an experience.It is 1918. The war and the influenza pandemic have made the world a grave, dreary place. There are coffins lining the streets. People wrap their faces in gauze to stave off illness, keep to themselves, and fear one another. It is a heavy and hopeless time. Mary Shelley, named after the author of Frankenstein, has always been an eccentric girl. Fascinated by the way things work, electricity, and books she is, as her childhood friend and sweetheart, Stephen, fondly calls her: 'original.' After her father is arrested for being unsupportive of the war, Mary is forced to move in with her Aunt Eva. Soon after, Stephen, the boy she loves, dies at war and Mary, half-crazed with grief, rushes out into a dangerous storm, is struck by lightning, and dies.... just for a moment. From then on Mary feels different. She can taste emotion and sense the dead; Stephen in particular. His desperate pleas to 'keep him with her' and his incoherent rants about being attacked by blackbirds have Mary more than a little shaken up. Driven by her desire to put his spirit to rest, Mary investigates the details of Stephen's death and tries to piece together what truly happened to him before the flu claims her life or she loses her mind. I was so intensely invested in the outcome of this story. I really cared for and wanted peace for them. Their love story is one I ached for. Mary and Stephen are smart and passionate characters who care for each other because of real, admirable qualities. Cat Winters has done a fantastic job. She puts you in 1918. You experience in some small way the anxiety, desperation and terror of death and disease. It's an dark, emotional ride, but it's a near perfect one. (Originally published @ http://iheartyafiction.blogspot.com/)