The Caged Graves

The Caged Graves - Dianne K. Salerni Also found on Whitley ReadsMy Reaction: The summary for this book is quite misleading, but if one goes in with the proper expectations, it’s still pretty enjoyable. This is a historical romance book, and as a romance book, it holds up quite well. I greatly enjoyed watching the relationship blossom between Verity and Nate, as well as her relationships with the other characters in the novel. The story of a young girl moving from a big city to a small town in order to get married: that’s very good. The setting and the writing conveyed an older feel without beating the reader on the head with “HISTORICAL!” But as to the danger and mystery hinted at in the summary? Well, it barely makes an impact until the end, and the end result is disappointing.Highlights:• Verity was a wonderful main character. She was polite and well-mannered and earnest in her desire to connect with the people around her, which are all traits I would like to see more of in fiction. She felt like a real character, a product of her time, with flaws and strengths and enough space around her in the narrative that the reader had a chance to really fall for her.• Nate was a darling.• There was a love triangle of the worst kind: the kind where one corner never stood a chance and was just added in to cause drama. While it irritated me, I wasn’t as bothered as usual by that. Perhaps because the angst was kept to a minimum, so it really did feel like just a monkey-wrench in the story, not some central point of drama that we’re supposed to fret about.• They “mystery” of the cages was no mystery at all; the whole town knew and just refused to tell Verity, and the whole thing was “solved” when a character shouted the whole story at her in a fit of pique. The reason wasn’t even terribly scandalous.• None of Verity’s actions led to the climax of the novel. If she had ignored everything going on in the book and just stayed in bed for the whole time, the end of the book would have gone down in exactly the same way. In short: most of the book was just filler. Enjoyable filler, but filler.• The book has a distressing tendency to characterize women besides Verity as being ugly and petty, being especially certain to harp on their undesirable looks while they gossip. Not all of them get this treatment, but enough that it’s problematic