By Cat Winters
I was drawn to this book for many reasons including my love for historical books and all things supernatural. The fall of 1918 was a bleak time in U.S. history. World War I was ending and the Spanish Influenza had the country in a death grip. Mary Shelley Black moves to San Diego to live with her Aunt Eva after her father is imprisoned for treason. The war and the flu have left a lasting impression on the city. Women are forced to work in the factories and shipyards, bodies are piling up on every street corner, and people are desperate to contact their love ones in the afterlife. Mary Shelley sits for a photo shoot with her friend who claims to be a spiritualist photographer. She doesn’t believe he can capture the dead in a photo, but she begins to question her belief when a grim figure surfaces in her photograph. She learns that her beloved Stephen Embers has died at war, and she soon begins to see his ghost. But, why? Mary Shelley must find out the truth about Stephen’s death, and the truth about the afterlife.
Cat Winters paints a very grim scene in San Diego in 1918. Life becomes a day to day battle to stay alive despite the flu running rampant in the streets. My favorite part of this book was the descriptions of the setting. I almost felt like I was transported back to 1918. Fans of supernatural and historical books will devour this book. Mary Shelley is a believable character with real fears and real weaknesses. In the Shadow of Blackbirds is creepy and sinister, but it offers a real glimpse of our history with a fictional story.