The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni
The Skinny: 17-year-old Verity Boone expects 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 to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted. – From Goodreads
BFF?: I LIKED Verity… when she wasn’t acting like a damsel in distress prude. She really got on my nerves then. Other than that, she was likable. I loved the fact that, despite the time period this book was set in, she was pretty forthright with people, assertive and fiery. It was funny watching her struggle trying to be proper and trying to be strong; these two things often warred with her. Also, if you don’t count her being all “lands sake I have the vapors!” at some times, I loved that she was inquisitive. She didn’t shy away from looking for the truth or questioning things the town people had always just accepted. I questioned her decisions a lot, but overall really liked Verity.
Readability: Totally spooky mystery! It seems like a ghost story, so it reads like that, all suspenseful, but then it gets mysterious and beautiful and… I really enjoyed reading this one!
Crush Level: 5 and 7
There’s a little bit of a love triangle going on here. Verity has returned to Catawissa to marry Nate McClure, but when she meets the town’s handsome doctor’s (who is a ginger) apprentice sparks begin to fly! But she’s starting to fall for Nate! Oh, what is a girl to do?!
Lemme be frank… young doctor there only got a 5. Nate got a 7. Girl, treat yo self!
Nate starts out to look like a dud, totally not what Verity was expecting after reading all the super sweet letters he wrote to her. But as she gets to know him, he gets all awkward and says the wrong thing because he’s so nervous around her! Seriously, their relationship unfolding was so sweet that I nearly hated my first instinct to like the doctor (seriously I can’t remember his name at all)!
There’s an author’s note in the book that says there actually are caged graves in PA! I mean, how cool is that? And the names on the graves in this book are actually the names of the people on the graves! Even cooler!
I know 1 in 5 marriages now days starts on Match.com, but did you ever think that writing letters to someone you didn’t know and agreeing to marry them via letters was the earliest form of online dating? Mind=blown!
Whenever I need a good scare I love watching things like Haunted History or History’s Mysteries or whatever they’re called. This book felt like one! There’s a historical legend about some gold, rumors of the dead not really being dead, mysteries about the reason for the cages over the graves… Quite a lot to give me the chills!
Commencement Speech: I wasn’t really all that interested in this one. Sure it sounded okay, but didn’t really jump out at me. But, I started it anyway and from the very beginning I was HOOKED! There wasn’t a ton of adventure and action, but instead a slow build of suspense and mystery. It kind of dangles between a ghost story and a suspenseful story as Verity begins to uncover the truth about her mother’s and aunt’s mysterious deaths. But besides all of that, there’s a really sweet story of a girl reuniting with her father and falling in love. If you like a good historical book, this one is a great one to pick up. There were so many facts woven into the story about the time period that I felt like I learned something! I definitely enjoyed this one and will be recommending it highly!
Yearbook Quote: “You can be downright tart on an empty stomach! Polly had always chided her. Tart! She wished she had one.”
Superlatives – Most likely to give you quite a fright!
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