Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin

If you are looking for a quick historical fiction read, look no further than Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin. 

A ghost will find his way home. Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past. (GoodReads).

This is a book that deserves to be read in hard copy. Lisa Brown's illustrations are essential to the story (and some of the story is told in letters) and it was hard to read these on my digital reader. Actually, it was  a bit impossible and I missed some key plot details. Opps!

Originality: 7. As a student of American history, I can say this book is well-grounded in Civil War facts (particularly the chaos and violence of the war for young soldiers). Photography becomes a popular medium during the CW for the first time, and so this setting is a perfect time period to capture the nation's fascination with both death and photos.
Absurdity: 2. As long as you are ok with "historical fiction speak" there is nothing too absurd here. Although as you know this personally drives me up the wall.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. Dang, I was caught by surprise by this book. Just when I thought I had all the love interests figured out....
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 4. For some reason this story never hooked me. I found myself skimming. I also never felt invested in the characters. Most of all I wanted Jennie to buck up and stand up for herself! Speaking of Harry Potter, our resident strong female Ms. Granger would never have let half the things slide that Jennie did. The low score reflects these frustrations.

on the plus side, this review/book has a BONUS FEATURE: check out the cool/creepy tumblr for the book here

From Toby, To His Sister Jennie
an example of the cool graphics I missed because of my e-reader. I wish  GoodReads reviews
had let me know that this book would be best read in hard copy.


  1. Even with the upgrade they made to kindles for images???? Dang... I want a kindle fire so that I can read books like this and graphic novels as e-books. What is historical fiction speak? I don't read a lot of historical (although, I'm reviewing Grave Mercy tomorrow and OMG SO GOOD).

    1. HA well I think of "historical fiction speak" as awkward attempts at recreating old-fashioned patterns of speech. It makes me uncomfortable.

  2. I really dig historical fiction, however, American history definitely isn't my thing. I do find it interesting and unique though that the author incorporates photos as an integral part of the story line. I just think that's great even if the story isn't for me. And that's too bad about the lack of decent e-imagery.


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