Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni

Publish date: May 2013
Source: Classroom library
Format: Hardcover
Length: 329 pages
"17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core.
" (Goodreads)

I first heard about The Caged Graves when I was at ALA and was immediately sucked in by the cover and title while walking around one day. It came out in May, so we got copies for our classroom libraries this fall and I can't believe I waited until now to read it! I absolutely loved it!

The Caged Graves is basically my favorite kind of historical fiction, in that the setting doesn't overwhelm the story. I love historical fiction, but find that sometimes the setting takes over, which usually means I'm not a fan of the book. Instead, the time period of just after the Civil War was a great complement to Verity's story. I loved Verity herself and all of her intelligence and curiosity. Also: she decided to come back to Catawissa to enter her marriage. I think the blurb makes it seem like the was forced into it. Nope.

I really love that there are actual caged graves in Catawissa. Author Dianne Salerni found them in an abandoned graveyard and after not being able to find out why the cages were there, decided to write a book about them. It's just the best when historical fiction makes me want to learn more about actual events, so you better believe if I ever go to PA, I will be going to see these cages!

If you are in the mood for addicting and interesting historical fiction, check out The Caged Graves! I don't think it's gotten the attention it deserves and I look forward to pushing it on people :)

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