I forget sometimes how very much I love historical fiction. I wander off into the world of contemporary lit and forget how great the feeling of being immersed in not only a different place but a different time can be. I love to read about history but much more than that I love to speculate about what it was actually like to live through it.
Jennie is plunged into mourning for her lost love, but, unfortunately, that is not her only problem. Orphaned Jennie's place in her aunt and uncle's household becomes very fragile indeed once the promise of one day becoming lady of the house dies with Will on the battlefield. She is relegated to the role of little more than a servant but for the family's trip to a medium and photographer Heinrich Geist, which the family, like many desperate mourning families of that day, was eager to try any spiritualistic means to commune with the dead that were taken from them far too abruptly. Skeptical Jennie suspects that Geist is running a scam taylor-made to prey upon the families of the dead, but there's no mistaking it when something very unusual happens that has Jennie believing in ghosts and setting out on a journey to solve the mystery of her beloved's death.
Picture the Dead is an absorbing and richly atmospheric piece of young adult historical fiction. Between chapters are excerpts from Jennie's scrapbooks, filled with handwritten letters and pictures that mimic Civil War-era photography. Each set of scrapbook pages sets the stage for the chapter to come and helps to unlock another small piece of the mystery. The pictures are a welcome addition to the atmosphere of the book. Griffin carefully strings the reader along revealing just enough that you feel as if you could solve the mystery but still end up surprised by the outcome. I loved the mystery, enjoyed the spiritualism angle, and can definitely see Picture the Dead being a great re-read for autumn's R.I.P challenge time.
Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy for review.