I’m so happy to announce today that I’m one of the tour hosts for The Lady In Blue by Kimberly G. Giarratano. It feels great to be able to write this post and share this lovely story with you all as well as link you up to a giveaway that is being hosted to win a free , signed copy of one of Giarratano’s books for yourself! I want to say a massive thank you to Meraki Book Tours for hosting this tour, allowing me to be a part of it, and for providing me with my own copy to read and review.
Synopsis: The Lady in Blue stole a car and fled Ash. Out on Devlin Road she emerged from a crash. She wandered the woods with her head dripping blood. Then drowned in the river in water and mud. All her life criminology student Liz Bloom has heard this rhyme, meant to scare young campers. When she’s about to take on her first cold case, Liz learns the eerie song is about her great aunt Lana. Liz isn’t big on studying, but she does have one advantage most criminologists don’t — she can speak to the dead. In 1955, Lana Bloom was an eighteen-year-old beauty with Hollywood dreams who fell in love with a stranger. When Lana died in a bloody car crash, all signs pointed to the mysterious man who was never seen again. As Lana unravels the details surrounding her last week of life, the tale she weaves for Liz is one of desire, betrayal, and murder. But if Lana can’t identify her killer, not only will a murderer escape punishment, but her ghostly form will cease to exist. And Liz will have failed the most important assignment of all – family (pulled from Goodreads).
The Lady In Blue is not my typical cup of tea. It’s an eerie, paranormal story that gave me literal chills when I read it as whilst it is a very short story it is full of horrifying, gruesome truths about family and friends, life and death. In that morbid way we humans are often drawn to mystery and the dead, the allure of the Lady in Blue pulled me straight into its centre and didn’t let go. Set in present day 90s, the Lady’s—or rather Lana’s—story is revealed through a series of flashbacks to the 1950s and her senior year at high school.
What I liked most about this book was the character of Lana Bloom whose dreams were too big for the small suburban life she lived. Engaged at eighteen with the fate of her family resting on her shoulders, Lana had a lot more to deal with than the ordinary teenager, though certain other characters in the story didn’t recognise the immense pressure she was under nor the pain it caused her to withhold from her dream of being an actress. Given that she lived and died in the 50s I was pleasantly surprised by how outspoken and feminist Lana was. Throughout it all she was constant in her narrative and often called out others—like her fiancé Doug and her mother—for suggesting that she was not as good as her male counterpart or for forbidding her from doing things the men could do. Lana and Andrew, another love interest, had an interesting (albeit brief) conversation about boys and girls and going to war which I really enjoyed.
Liz and the way the future of Lana’s family was interwoven was another thing I thought was done well. I’m always quite tentative with stories which heavily rely on flashbacks to tell the story and although this one was quite confusing at times to recognise which parts were from the 50s and which the 90s, I quickly settled into a being able to quickly recognise when the time period changed. Having Liz there really helped that along.
For my own personal taste I would’ve loved for Lana’s unreliability as a narrator to have been pumped up a lot more than what it was done as I think that would’ve added even more suspense to the story than what is already there. I also think certain elements of the book could’ve done with added drama just to really heighten the stakes. Particularly the last chapter or two when the big reveals were happening something more dynamic than what was there would’ve been phenomenal. That being said, this is only a novella so I understand that certain things couldn’t feasibly be as drawn out as they might be in a 400-500 page mystery and that elements might have to take backseats over other, more precedent things.
My favourite element by far though has to be the plot twist at the end. Honestly, I didn’t even suspect this character until the very end but I was blown away when it was revealed. I’m usually the reader who doesn’t guess mysteries easily so perhaps that was just me but I really did think the way the book was written was great in that it led you away from the killer moreso than towards them. And then right at the end, with Liz and the confrontations; I just thought it was excellently done.
Overall I’ve given this novella 3 stars for being a really enjoyable mystery to read with an expressive, badass leading lady and some great suspense and twists. Especially considering the length, I would recommend this either to people who have already read Grunge Gods and Graveyards or, for those like me who haven’t, people simply interested in a quick but interesting paranormal YA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberly G. Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a YA paranormal mystery set in the mid-90s. She lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and small children. A former teacher and YA librarian, Kimberly adores Etsy, Jon Stewart, The Afghan Whigs, ’90s nostalgia, and (of course) everything YA. She also speaks Spanish, but is woefully out of practice.
Meraki Book Tours and Kimberly G. Giarratano are giving away the opportunity for you (yes, you!) to win your own copy of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, the original novel that inspired the The Lady In Blue spin-off. If you want to be in with a chance of winning, enter using the link below. Good luck!!