This eARC was provided by TorTeen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Content Warning: Violence; death
Girl at the Grave is a murder-mystery combined with historical fiction that has plenty of intrigue, angst, and Gothic elements that kept me engaged throughout most of the book due to its main character and atmosphere but was overshadowed but its heavy focus on the romance instead of the murder mystery.
What I Liked
+ The main character, Valentine Deluca is a clever and thoughtful protagonist seeking justice for those who are innocent including herself. She is has so much agency in this and I appreciated seeing that in a historical fiction where most female characters don’t get written that way. I mostly enjoyed this because of her, even when she made mistakes.
+ The author nailed the small town life perfectly, and the way the history of the citizens of Feavers Crossing was intertwined within the narrative.
What I Didn’t Like
– The love triangle and the romance, which took over a better part of the middle of the story, took away from the suspense and build-up of the murder-mystery elements.
– One of the love interests, I felt lacked development and I just didn’t have enough. Also his change of character felt so drastic that it felt unnatural in my opinion.
Overall I felt the story was more concerned with the romance between Valentine/Rowan than the actual murder mystery, which was pretty disappointing.
– There’s also the questionable mentally disabled representation for the character of Birdy, who is a an adult woman who may possibly be on the autistic spectrum and/or is developmentally challenged. She is killed off and is never really mentioned again until towards the later part of the book. I CANNOT speak for this representation and I would advise those seek an #ownvoices review for this aspect of the book.*
There’s many layers and surprises to this one that I think is worth checking out if you’re interested in reading a historical fiction with a romance and murder mystery. Personally, while I didn’t love it, I think I would still recommend this because I know some people will probably like this, but you should go in knowing its major issues and flaws.