In the Shadow of Blackbirds - Cat Winters *Genre* Historical Fiction*Rating* 4.0*First Thoughts*”Oh, you silly, naive men.” I shook my weary head and genuinely pitied their ignorance. “You’ve clearly never been a sixteen-year-old girl in the fall of 1918.”* Absolutely love this quote!Upon finishing In The Shadows of Blackbirds, I asked myself "WHY DID I WAIT TO LONG TO READ THIS AWESOME BOOK?" I must say that I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It was dark, and it was realistic in nature since the Spanish Influenza and World War I occurred at the same time and millions of people, (a true number has never been determined) died as a result of both the War and the Flu. I have always wondered where the Influenza came from and where did it go? It was here on day, and gone the next. Will it ever rear its ugly head again in our lifetimes? 16-year old Mary Shelley Black is a character that is instantly likable. She's ferocious, extremely intelligent, driven, focused, and a little ahead of her time. She's obsessed with Aviatrixes, Electricity, Anatomy, and machinery. The story really begins once her father is arrested for being a German spy, and she is forced to flee Portland to San Diego where her Aunt Eva lives. It's obvious to me that Cat Winters did her homework and research and knows San Diego fairly well.Mary really goes through a trying time over the course of this book. She's learned that her friend has died after running off to serve his country. She's later hit by lightning and dies only to find herself back in her body. People around her are dying and there's no hope on the horizon. People don't go anywhere without their masks and there are all sorts of homemade remedies that are supposed to stop the Flu from affecting you. She's sees the horrors of war while volunteering at a Red Cross shelter and finds herself broiled in discovering what really happened to Stephen who was not only her friend, but would have probably been the love of her life.In the Shadow of Blackbirds is filled with spiritualism, séances, and the search for answers as to where the soul goes once the body is dead. I would highly recommend this book to those in the 18 plus range because of content, yet, the younger generation would probably benefit from reading about how awful war really is, and how soldiers deal with shell shock and PTSD on a daily basis.Published April 2nd 2013 by Amulet Books