Monday, May 20, 2013

Reading in the Cemetery

Yes, I was just the kind of melodramatic, slightly emo-teenager who used to go to the local cemetery to read in the summertime. It was quiet there, of course, and added ambiance to the spooky stories that were my bread and butter back then.

Plus, when I wanted a break from paranormal love affairs, I could take a walk and let my imagination fill in the blanks behind some of my favorite older-than-dirt headstones.  Who were these people who died so long ago? What were their lives like? Why/how did some of them die so young?

Dianne Salerni’s The Caged Graves reminds me of one of those beautiful days spent in
my cemetery- surrounded by mystery, the scent of fresh-cut grass and the tingle of something other climbing up my back with each warm breeze.

In her book, Dianne captures the fictional story behind two very real graves located in an abandoned cemetery outside the town of Catawissa, Pennsylvania.

SARAH ANN, Wife of Ransloe Boone, Died November 15, 1852, Aged 22 years

ASENATH, Wife of John Thomas, Died November 15, 1852, Aged 17 years

How the young sister-in-laws died and why cages were erected around their graves remains a mystery. But Dianne did a hell of a job filling in the blanks!

The story is told from the point-of-view of the daughter of one of the deceased; 17-year-old Verity Boone, who arrives back in Catawissa to live with her father after fifteen years away.

Her arrival in town stirs up memories and rumors that had been thought long-laid to rest but Verity is determined to learn the truth behind her mother and aunt’s caged graves, despite the reluctance of the townspeople. Were the cages erected to keep someone out? Or make sure the dead remained inside?

Add a hot love triangle between Verity, her intended, and the doctor’s apprentice to the mix and you’ve got everything needed for a fast-paced and engaging YA historical mystery. Congratulations Dianne, on another fantastic story!

Have you ever spent time contemplating the lives of those long-deceased? Why do you think we feel such a pull to explore and ponder the lives of people who lived and died centuries before us?

20 comments:

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Thank you, Katie!

And thanks for reading this story (again and again), giving your feedback over countless revisions!

I LOVE that you used to read in cemeteries. I probably would have done something like that if there was any place peaceful I could have walked to from my house.

Matthew MacNish said...

This book sounds so good!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I loved this book too. Dianne did an amazing job with all the historical details and the plot. I couldn't put it down and it really made me want to read more historical fiction. Thanks for sharing about it.

SA Larsenッ said...

So cool you loved reading in the cemetery! If I'd have been a read-a-holic back then like I am now, I would have totally done that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Dianne's book.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, it certainly would've been quiet! (And if it wasn't, you would've been running for your life.)

Em-Musing said...

What an interesting story. I do wonder about those people buried. Like you as a teen, I spent some time in a cemetery, but only once. I once did a seance but had the bejeebers scared out of me by a caretaker(I guess that's who it was) who yelled at me and my friends. Never did that again.

mshatch said...

LOVED Dianne's book and interestingly, I have spent time in cemeteries, wanting around the graves and wondering about the people buried there. I remember one plot in particular where three or four children in the same family all died within a few years of one another. So sad!

Jessica Bell said...

This book looks amazing, and I LOVE how the cover mimics that 'classics' feel ...

I've never read in a cemetery before. I should try it ...

Carrie-Anne said...

Graving is one of my hobbies. I've done a lot of volunteer photography and adding interments and biographies to the website Find a Grave. Even if I don't have a camera, it's still nice to spend a long afternoon walking a cemetery. Once I even spent an entire afternoon reading beside the oldest grave (18th century) in a cemetery on top of a hill.

Old Kitty said...

Golly but I had to look up what an emo is! LOL!!

Huge congratulations to Dianne!! What a most intriguing and wonderful premise - caged graves and the deaths of these young women!! Yikes!! Take care
x

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think a lot of people are interested in people from previous centuries/generations; otherwise, there wouldn't be anthropologists, archaeologists, and the History Channel. I think that's one reason I like Jane Austen's work so much, not only because I can still relate to the themes that she described, but also because of how she portrayed the people who lived during that time. And the description of The Caged Graves sounds interesting too; I always love stories with love triangles!

D.G. Hudson said...

Yes, I have contemplated the graves of those long dead at Pere Lachaise, in Paris. I found that public cemetery a great place to wonder at the lives that came before - especially the older monuments. As for southern cemeteries, the older ones were creepier.

That said, I wanted to be out of that cemetery when evening started to fall. I have a healthy respect for the dead.

This book sounds intriguing. Good luck to Diane with Caged Graves. A great hook of a name. I had never heard of this practice.

Ru said...

That book sounds great, thanks for the recommendation!

Laura Marcella said...

In college on nice days, my creative writing professor would have the class walk to the cemetery just off campus. Those classes were some of the best. It was awesome being outside to write, critique, and talk about literature, and gravestones can be great sources of inspiration as you wonder about the lives behind the names and dates.

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Mike Cronis said...

Yep, you definitely have issues.

DL Hammons said...

Dianne's book is in-route and should be here any day. Looking forward to it!

Not surprised at all about your affinity for cemetery reading. Nope...not at all. :)

Lexa Cain said...

I'm dying to read this book! I adore Dianne, and I'm sure her historical characters will be enthralling. :-)

jaybird said...

Congrats to Dianne Looks like quite a read.

I used to live very close to a cemetery growing up. We played in there all the time. I'm sad to say that same cemetery holds whole new meaning to be now, since my sister and nephew are buried there. I still visit often, it's just not the same.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Best of luck to Dianne!

You were brave. I always held my breath when passing a cemetery. No idea why, but it was just the thing.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I bet if I were to read in a cemetery, some creepy zombie skeleton ghoul would come out to get me. Of course if I was getting to the good part (especially a hot make out scene), I would have no choice but to whack him over the head with said book so that I could go back to reading it. :D

Dianne's book sounds great. Definitely adding it to my pile.

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