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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Caged Graves
Author: Dianne Salerni
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: May 14 2013
Publishing House: Clarion Books
ISBN: 9780547868530
Source of Copy: Requested from Publisher


17-year-old Verity Boon epects 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 keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with the 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.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


As fans of historical fiction, it was imperative that we must read this one, thanks to the oh-so-intriguing summary and most importantly, the very idea of caged graves being used in a story! The thought of seeing iron cages around the cemetery is disturbing, but also very, very intriguing. In fact, we were so tickled by the idea that we featured this book before in one of our Waiting on Wednesday posts.

After fifteen years away from Catawissa, Verity Boone finally returns home to meet her estranged father and the fiance she corresponded letters with. It just so happens that her father is standoffish and unsure about how to act around his grown daughter and Nathaniel  is not at all how he seemed like in the letters he sent. But then she comes across her mother's grave with an iron-wrought cage above it and rumor has it that those iron cages have something to do with witchcraft and buried treasure. Verity won't stand for those snide comments and nasty looks , and so she tries to get to the bottom of it all only to find out that her trust may very well lie with the wrong people after all.

Verity Boone is a very likable heroine, the likes of which Catawissa has never seen before. She's a right proper lady but she's no simpering damsel in distress. She's stubborn and determined and trying to get settled into her new life at Catawissa all the while juggling her growing attraction to the town doctor's apprentice, her feelings for her fiance and the whole mystery surrounding the caged graves. Nathaniel, Verity's fiance is an adorable boy. His awkwardness around Verity had us cooing at his preciousness! Verity is very much unlike the other girls in town so he has no idea how to deal with her and his jealous fits. Their romance was undeniably sweet and squeal-worthy, and ultimately had us begging for more scenes.

Admittedly, the love triangle detracted our attention from the actual mystery, but Salerni has managed to fuse the two elements together without either one coming off as too strong.   The intrigue unraveling the caged graves was measured out in careful doses, so there was no information overload of sorts. Salerni's descriptions were enough, but not overly done as we are still given the freedom to let our imagination run wild. 

Dianne Salerni's writing is impeccable and engrossing; from the probability of witchcraft and curses, to the sweet love story that creeps up, and the mystery that surrounds the caged graves, this is an engrossing read and we wouldn't mind picking up our own personal copies.

The Caged Graves comes out in bookstores come May 14, 2013.


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