The Caged Graves

First Lines: Even facing probable death, Private Silas Clayton couldn’t stop thinking about that leather satchel.

Hello my lovelies!  Wow, I disappear for five days and it seems like everything here at WordPress changes!  I greatly apologize over my absence, but I have just been in the most exhausting and overwhelming week of my life: I was hired as a 7th/8th grade English teacher and, two days later, had my first class.  So it was a lot to take in and handle in a very short amount of time.  But I’m still here!

It’s 1867.  Verity expected a warm homecoming when she returned to her birthplace of Catawissa, Pennsylvania after 15 years away.  She’s accepted a proposal from a local farmer she only knows through letters.  Instead, she gets a father who doesn’t seem to know what to do with a teenage daughter and a fiance who doesn’t seem anything like the man she fell in love with in writing.  But the worst surprise is her mother’s grave, which is covered by an iron cage.  No one will say why, but rumors abound.  Witchcraft.  Buried treasure.  Or maybe it was to keep the dead in the ground.  Determined, Verity sets out to find out who exactly her mother was in life and why she’s ostracized in death.

I love historical fictions.  They are divine.  And this was just so curious because it’s based on actual caged graves in Pennsylvania.  No one really knows why they’re caged.  The historical note says that historians have been looking for years, but if there’s an answer out there, no one has found it yet.  And I was captivated by this.

I really liked Verity.  She was a strong lead, strong-willed in a time when women were still looked down upon.  I really liked that she was so determined to find answers when no one else wanted to look.  Obviously, it was personal for her, but still.  And she still managed to fit the norms of women of the time.  Does that make sense?  Verity was a typical women of 1867 (or as typical as I know it to be) while still being a strong and admirable lead today.

The betrothal between Verity and Nate was really interesting.  I kind of loved that it defied expectations.  Verity thought she knew this guy well enough to want to marry him, and then he’s so radically different in person.  I liked that a book wanted to work through that, since so many books talk about sparks and love at first sight.  This was definitely not love at first sight.  It was more realistic in that respect.  

And the graves.  I know I’ve talked about them already, but still.  It’s just so fascinating, you know?  And Salerni presents a reason why those cages exist in her story.  It’s a bit fantastical and somewhat hard to believe, but it’s still a theory.  I liked that it made the story exciting and tied itself back to history in that way.  I could have easily just been a historical romance, but it through in a mystery too.

I just want to add that there is a love triangle in the story as well, but it is handled very differently than many stories.  It was kind of charming in that respect, even if it was frustrating.  I truly didn’t know who I liked more until the end.

A fun historical read with a great mystery behind it.  It’s charming and awkward and suspenseful.  I had a lot of fun with this book.

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