Graveminder by Melissa Marr Pub. Date: May 17, 2011 Published by: William Morrow Format: Hardcover, 324 pages Synopsis from Melissa Marr’s Website
Three sips to mind the dead . . .
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."
Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.
Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.
What happens in Claysville, stays in Claysville….
Graveminder is the first book I’ve read by Melissa Marr…and it will not be my last. Her Wicked Lovely series – set it in the YA world – is going to be added to my ‘to read’ list.
The world of Graveminder is like no other I’ve visited before: a small town where anyone who’s born there, never leaves – and if by chance they ever do, they always return. Claysville’s citizens never question the strange/scary events that happen, and a council strives to maintain order by working with the two individuals whose shoulders bear the weight of the town’s safety. Hidden underneath the town lies the land of the dead – an intricate world run by the mysterious ‘Mr. D’ (aka Charles). Because of the deal the town’s founders made with Charles, the Graveminder (Rebekkah) and the Undertaker (Byron) must ensure that the dead stay in their grave. If a grave is not minded, the dead rise and begin to feed on humans. The more they kill, the stronger they become and the harder it will be for the Graveminder and the Undertaker to lead them to the land of the dead.
Rebekkah is a strong main character, yet beautifully flawed like the rest of us. When we first meet her, you can feel that she’s been in search of her place in the world. By the time the story ends, you leave Graveminder with a smile on your face, knowing she has not only found it, but she’s happy with where fate has taken her.
The concept of Graveminder took me a bit by surprise, but delivered every hope I had of an exceptional read. It’s a fresh, fascinating, mind-boggling, insanely-genius and beautifully written page-turner. Ms. Marr has built a truly extraordinary world. Any author who can pull me in and keep me sitting there for hours, immobilized by the need to know what’s going to happen next, has earned themselves a loyal reader.
This is a must for your summer reading list!
“Part of being strong is knowing when to hide your weaknesses, and when to admit them. When it’s just us, you can cry. In front of the world, you keep that chin up.”
Favorite Character: Byron Montgomery
Byron surprised me throughout Graveminder. He’s handsome, quiet, strong-willed, patient, caring, smart, and a bit of a romantic. He loves Rebekkah profoundly, but has never been able to hold onto her throughout his adult life. Part of his journey with her reminded me of the old saying: “If you love something, let it go. If it’s yours, it’ll return to you.” He’s known what he’s wanted for most of his life, and with patience, he’s waited until she’s ready to accept the love and support he has to offer. Only time, and hopefully another book in this series, will tell whether or not his love for Rebekkah will be fully reciprocated.