Jennie’s connection with her twin brother, Toby, grew stronger after he died in 1864. Now Jennie must rely on her ability to communicate with the dead to find out what has happened to her beloved fiance, Will, while he was off at war. The army says he died honorably in battle. His brother confides that he became a violent criminal and died in a prison camp. Jennie begins to doubt that anyone is telling her the truth.
This intriguing combination of historical romance, paranormal thriller, and clever mystery is illustrated by bestselling artist Lisa Brown. The unique visuals originated from real Civil War daguerreotypes that were transformed into eerie mementos for Jennie’s scrapbook.
With the help of a spiritualist photographer, the spirit of her dead fiance, and the clues she discovers and keeps in her scrapbook, Jennie must put together the pieces of this mystery before she loses her home, her fortune, and possibly her life.
Jennie was a well developed and likable main character. She had a strong head on her shoulders and knew what she wanted with life. Jennie had faced a lot of death in her short life; both her parents, her twin brother, and her fiancé. Her parents died years before and she was currently living with her horrid Aunt and Uncle. Her brother and fiancé both died in the Civil War. One from disease before he even faced battle, and her fiancé? His death was a big mystery/twist in the book. When Quinn, Jennie’s fiancé’s brother, returned from the War; injured and half mad, Jennie learned her fiancé Will had perished on the battle field. Supposedly.
When Jennie realizes Will may be haunting her, to tell her something, suspicions regarding his death are starting to brew in her head. Spiritualism plays a big role in this novel. The idea of a spirit haunting Jennie and also the family visits a medium. The medium, also a photographer, plays a large role in the novel and really helps Jennie unravel the mystery surrounding Will’s disappearance.
I loved all the mystery and intrigue in this novel, and several of the twists completely shocked me and kept me on the edge of my seat. There were a variety of sub-plots and secondary characters that added a lot to Picture the Dead. The historical facts were accurate and interesting, and will help readers learn even more about the Civil War and some of the lesser known aspects of the time period.
The images at the end of each chapter helped me picture the characters and memorabilia mentioned in the story even better. Photography played a large role in the book, so it helped to be able to actually see the photos described in the text.
If you’re looking for an exciting, suspenseful, and well written historical novel I highly recommend Picture the Dead. My only complaints were that some of the characters were a bit under developed and at times the plot got a little confusing. Overall, it was a great read, and I’m looking forward to checking out more of the author’s novels.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars