Although I do read a fair amount of historical fiction, I don’t really go into the paranormal/romance side of it often. Girl at the Grave has shown me that maybe I should.
I actually ended up really enjoying this book. This is probably going to be a bit of a polarizing read though, especially in the YA community. Girl at the Grave is not your typical YA novel, it moves at a very slow pace and is mostly character driven. It’s probably going to be one that you get completely immersed in or DNF. Thankfully, I was drawn into the story early on.
The story focuses on our protagonist, Valentine – such a very romantic/Gothic name and I was completely feeling it for this story. Valentine’s life has been almost ruined by having a terrible reputation because her mother killed one of the sons of the most reputable woman in the town. Her mother was promptly hung and her family was ruined. Valentine had thought she knew the whole story about what happened to her mother on that night, she finds out that things may not be as they seem and she is determined to get to the truth.
I really loved Valentine is a character, I’m not sure that the story would have kept me engaged enough if it hadn’t been for the strength of her character. I also adored the character of Birdy. She is the sweetest woman ever and I just wanted to protect her. The friendship between Valentine was beautiful and felt very authentic. I also like one of the love interests in this one, Rowan. The cute banter between Valentine and Rowan was very sweet to read, but I was never really 100% on board with them.
I do have some things that I didn’t love, the love triangle. Valentine leading two young men on at the same time was tiring and made me lose some respect for the character. I know she is young and the decisions were difficult because she came from a time where she should do certain things but her character was very head strong and it didn’t really make sense that she dragged these guys on for as long as she did. It was very drama and it should’ve played out quicker. This isn’t really a complaint but it was sometimes confusing, some of the choices that Valentine made. This was a time when women were fighting just to be able to go to school with the men but she seemed to be almost too progressive. She made choices that didn’t make sense for the time era – it was almost wishful thinking. I would love to think a woman, without any financial means, could be as independent thinking as she is, but it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
I would recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction and don’t mind a book that is slower. If you are looking for something packed full of action, this isn’t going to be for you. I know I’ll be picking up Black’s next book though!