Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Picture the Dead

Picture the Dead
Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
2010; Sourcebooks; ISBN 978-1-4022-3712-6 (hardcover)

Historical Period/Events:  Nineteenth-Century America; the Civil War

Summary: Death seems to surround Jennie.  The Civil War has taken her father, her twin brother, and her cousin/fiance.  Jennie knows she should move on and deal with the problems she faces: no money of her own, a lack of status in her small Massachusetts town, and the cruel treatment of her aunt.  Yet Jennie can't help thinking of her lost love Will.  It seems like he is trying to reach out to her from beyond the grave with some kind of message.  But just what is that message?  Jennie will have to find new reserves of courage when Will's warnings reveal the truth to her.

Evoking a very different time, Picture the Dead captures Civil War-era Massachusetts.  It was a time when people believed spirits could be seen in photographs, that ghosts brushed against our lives.  In moody, atmospheric prose, Adele Griffin showcases a ghostly story of lost love.  The scrapbook format, created by Lisa Brown's illustrations, enhances the story and provides clues to the mystery Jennie is untangling.  Pair Picture the Dead with Dianne Salerni's We Hear the Dead for an eye-opening look at the Spiritualist movement.

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