Genres: Civil War Period (1850-1877), Historical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Mysteries & Detective Stories, United States, Young Adult
Jennie Lovell’s life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past..
Love, loss, and a ghostly mystery
My Thoughts on Picture the Dead
In short, this book is a gothic story of loss and heartbreak. The author and illustrator pull in the historical element of the Civil War with a tense family dynamic. Narrator and main character Jennie is facing a huge amount of loss, but also the uncertainty of what’s going to happen to her next.
The story also add the phenomenon of photographing the dead. Families – especially those who lost someone during the war – were, at this time, seeking out photographers who could magically take a portrait with their lost loved ones. (Most famously, Mary Todd Lincoln was a believer.) Savvy narrator Jennie figures out the trick behind it, but also knows that this trick can provide peace of mind to those grieving. It’s this plot point – the family going to have a photograph taken – that catapults the mystery and ghostly love triangle between Jennie, Will, and Quinn.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. It’s unique; a story interspersed with scrapbook pages, and quite memorable.
“A ghost will find his way home. But I am not a ghost. And this house is not my home.”