I went into this having absolutely no idea how amazing it would be! Also, blackbirds? They're now terrifying.
So, oh gosh, I love how amazingly (and creepily) real this world was. When they say a book is a time machine...they weren't kidding. I was automatically transported to 1918 and I could see the hopelessness everywhere, smothering everyone in America. The fear of dying everywhere, the paranoia, and the unease when anyone so much as sniffled. It was heartbreaking to read this sometimes, but it had a great atmosphere that haunted you with it's hopelessness.
Mary Shelley, despite being a skeptic at first, didn't annoy me. And you guys, when our character is a skeptic at first, that usually really annoys me. But our main character was so independent and so compassionate towards everyone! She understood what was wrong and did what she could to make the world just a little less bleak. She had such a distinct personality too and she was just someone you admired for still being (sort of) sane after all that's happened to her.
Stephen was our love interest and even though we only get a few glimpses of him, it was enough to make me fall in love. He was such an understanding character and, like Mary, seemed so compassionate. He was pretty much the opposite of his brother, Julian, who I really wanted to strangle. Really.
The romance was so bittersweet like most of the novel. Childhood sweethearts--except one's already died. It was really heartbreaking and I really (I'M SORRY!) sort of wanted Mary to die and be with him. Romeo and Juliet FTW! Except, not really! Well, actually...
The mystery in this was also pretty unpredictable! I. Had. No. Suspicions. Whatsoever. The ending nearly killed me! I had no idea what was going to happen and I'm pretty sure I teared up a bit at a certain part.
The paranormal aspect of this was definitely something to love too since it was done so well and so wonderfully creepy! It still fit the 1918's fashion though with seances and spirit photographers that really never got old!
Haunting and breathtaking, In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one I'd definitely recommend, especially if you've read Born of Illusion early! This book was so beautiful and so raw sometimes, which I loved especially since it was a historical fiction! And while it does have that sense of hopelessness, it also has that one spark of hope in it that I just loved.