Review of Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa BrownPicture The Dead by Adele Griffin
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on 2012-02-01
Genres: Civil War Period (1850-1877), Historical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Mysteries & Detective Stories, United States, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

A ghost will find his way home.

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 fianc 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.

Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and illustrated by Lisa Brown was a great change of pace from the last book I read, The Queen of Palmyra. Picture The Dead completely absorbed me and I did not want to set it down. Picture The Dead opens with a note of melancholy. The Civil War or rather, the War Between The States is raging in the South, Sherman’s March has already occurred. The reader is transported to the upper middle class town of Brookline, Massachusetts. The main character, Jennie, has a love who is fighting in the war. That love is her cousin. Back then cousin love was totally all the rage. Why roam…

Anyways, Jennie pretty much lives with her aunt Trunchbull, only her aunt is not Trunchbull, but she’s kind of scary and mean! To cope with her grief, Jennie turns to spiritualism. Ya’ll spiritualism swept America away during the Victorian era. People were swindled out of money because the spiritualists peddled communication with the dead. Can you honestly blame someone who is grieving for turning to such means? I know I can’t.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown, so let’s go into style. The story is told in first person, which has to feel authentic for me to enjoy it. Jennie’s voice never felt forced. You know how sometimes historical fiction doesn’t feel right because the voice is too modern? Or how maybe the author overwhelms you with antiquated language? Well, I thought Jennie embodied Civil War Era America.
My favorite thing about Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown, however, was that it was an affirmation of femalehood. Throughout the book, we see Jennie trapped by her circumstances. She lives with her aunt and uncle because her parents are dead, therefore is prey to their whims. Her beloved is dead, so she is reduced to even lower circumstances than those she is already in. However, Jennie doesn’t keep her head down. She boldly goes after the answers she needs. She doesn’t let her circumstances get in the way of her wants. I love that. I love that despite her circumstances she remains headstrong. Yet, there is recognition of how a man does have it easier in this era.
Here’s a quote which goes with my statement:
“If I’d been his brother instead of his siter, I’d have stepped firm into Toby’s boots Rebs, training to become the Union scout he’d wanted to be…. But I’m not a man, and my destiny is passive–to wait, to hope, to grieve. I observe and collect, secreting what I find inside my scrapbook for no one but me to see.” ARC pg. 8

Other Reviews of Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown:

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Christina T says

    Nice review. This book sounds really great! I actually saw an ARC of this at my library the other day and almost picked it up but I have too many books at home to read and I wasn't sure I'd like it. Hopefully it will still be there when I go back. After reading your review I definitely want to read Picture the Dead.

  2. I'm glad you liked this one, too, and I liked the way you said it was about "femalehood." I never considered that before, but you are right on!

  3. Wonderful review! This book sounds really awesome. I love historical fiction.

  4. Sounds good! I'm looking forward to reading this one!

  5. Lisa and Laura says

    I saw the online book launch last night and it was AMAZING. Can't wait to read this book! It's out of stock on Amazon and I'm dying to get my hands on it…


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