The Caged Graves

The Caged Graves

by Dianne K. Salerni
4.7 7


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The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni

The year is 1867, and seventeen-year-old Verity Boone is excited to return to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, the hometown she left when she was just a baby. Now she will finally meet the fiancé she knows only through letters! Soon, however, she discovers two strangely caged graves . . . and learns that one of them is her own mother’s. Verity swears she’ll get to the bottom of why her mother was buried in “unhallowed ground” in this suspenseful teen mystery that swirls with rumors of witchcraft, buried gold from the days of the War of Independence, and even more shocking family secrets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547868530
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Dianne K.Salerni, a fifth-grade teacher, lives in New London, Pennsylvania

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The Caged Graves 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
Verity Boone returns to her birthplace engaged to a man she has no memory of ever having met before. When she finally meets her intended, she is left with doubts and hesitation, and her return to her home leaves her filled with questions. How did her mother die? What happened to leave her father so closed off to the world? Was her aunt a witch? And what, in Heaven's name, is with the cages covering her mother and aunt's graves? Everyone she turns to for answers seem to only leave her with more questions. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. The idea of graves with cages is just so...creepy! You can't help but think they are to keep the dead where they lay. Is this a zombie story? What is with those crazy cages? There was a romantic element to this story that took me by surprise. It wound up having a bit of a historical romance feel to it which, given the caged graves aspect, you wouldn't think would work, but it did. There was a wealth of characters, but they were easy to keep track of (I hate when I can't keep up with the characters and follow who is who). Verity's father is a little cold and distant, but he offers Verity her mother's diaries in hopes that she may find some of the answers she is looking for. In so doing, Verity also learns about the man her father used to be. The author had an engaging writing-style, with little witticisms tossed in to make me smile. My final word: I enjoyed this story even more than I expected. It wound up being an odd mix of mystery, horror and romance, and yet it worked. Verity was a likable young girl, and her intended husband Nate was equally likable (although he had a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth). The storyline kept me guessing, wondering where it was going, and just how these caged graves fit into it. With equal parts romance and creepiness, I found this story surprisingly enjoyable.
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
Verity Boone at age two years, was taken from her father, shortly after her mothers  unforeseen death, in order to have the chance to have a normal life while being raised with her cousins in her Aunt's home.  Now Verity is 17 years old and has promised to marry a respectable young man from her home town of Catawissa, Pennsylvania.  When she arrives at her father's home nothing is familiar to her. She did not receive a very warm welcome from anyone including her father. Something was not right, maybe she was being ill treated because people were jealous that she was to marry the most sought after bachelor in Catawissa.  But then as time goes by it is apparent it was more of the fact she was her mother's daughter. Stories of witchcraft was whisper behind her back.  There are many secrets leading up to her mother's death and even at this time in her life when she should be enjoying the preparations for her wedding she is forced to face a life and death situation with no one to turn to for help.  If this had been a movie, which I think it should be, you would be sitting on the edge of your seat and would not dare to go to the restroom or to get popcorn. Yep, it is that good.  I did not want to put the book down I took it everywhere with me. Yes even to the restroom.   The author has done a bang up job on this book. You will find high anxiety, greed, action, mystery, romance and redemption all through this book. What a creative imagination this author has put to work in her writing.  I hope to be reading more of her books soon. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Netgalley for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.
Paperback_Wonderland More than 1 year ago
"A love triangle and you gave it 4 stars?" But there is a reason for it, so for all of you who are weary of reading this book because of the dreaded love triangle, please don't be! Verity was sent away from Catawissa to live with relatives when she was a little girl, after her mother passed away. Now that she's seventeen she's started corresponding with a young man from her old town. It would be an advantageous marriage - he helped keep her father's farm during the war, and she's her father's only child. But it's not all business! Verity is a romantic and Nate seems perfect in the letters he's sent her. Why, he even sent her a book of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poems, how much romantic could the whole thing be? The thing is, once they meet, it's soon revealed that Nate let his sisters pick the gifts he was sending her. So who is this man? He's not the one with whom Verity has been trading love letters, that's for sure, he's so serious, and pragmatic, and all he cares about is farming... Add to this the fact that her own father seems to care very little for her, and Beulah, the housekeeper, can't seem to even stand her presence, and Verity is starting to think her decision to come back to Catawissa was a big mistake. But trouble is only starting, once she stumbles upon the graves of her mother and aunt she finds them in unhallowed ground and placed within iron cages. Wherever she turns Verity is faced with evasions, half truths, malicious rumours and outright lies as to what made the townsfolk inter her relatives like this. Was it witchcraft? Was it a fabled treasure buried with one of the women? Or was it because, as they say, “In Catawissa sometimes the dead don’t stay where you put them.”? Whatever the truth, Verity is determined to find it, and in the midst of all this the only one who is kind to her from the beginning is the new doctor's apprentice, Hadley, who makes it very plain that he doesn't care for her arranged marriage and he has feelings for her. Now, the love triangle is presented, I won't spoil it for you, but to reveal that it didn't bother me. One of the "angles" was never a serious contender and in a town where everyone is a suspect, and Verity's life seems, at times, threatened, the love triangle had reason to be. If not only to highlight how right the steady and true kind of love is by comparison. The book also gains points for the progression of the non-romantic relationships portrayed between Verity, her father, Beulah, and Nate's sisters. So if you love a good gothic mystery, realistic characters, and a lovely romance, this is the book for you!
novelsandnoses 6 months ago
I picked this book up on a whim and I am so glad that I did. I’d never heard of it or the author before, but the plot was intriguing and the cover art has a mysterious allure to it. This novel totally surprised me in how much I enjoyed reading it. I finished it in one sitting staying up way later than I should have. Verity is coming back to a town where everyone knows her, but she knows virtually no one. Even her own father is a stranger to her. Most of the townspeople assume Verity knows all the town history and gossip. However, she is shockingly uninformed about her own background and even less so about the townspeople. So Verity walks blindly through the community learning as she goes. It leads her on quite an adventure. This book has lots of twists and turns in it. There is a great sense of suspense created throughout. The townspeople are not always what they seem and Verity enjoys discovering their true nature. It gets her into a few difficult situations. I’ll admit I did not see the ending coming. Nor did I anticipate it happening in such a spectacular fashion. There is no cliffhanger and loose ends are tied up. While the fate of one character is heavily implied rather than seen, I do not believe this leaves any room for said character to come back. And quite frankly, good riddance to that one. Spoilers below. One thing I must say is that Ms. Salerni made Verity and Nate’s relationship real and believable. These two met as very young children (something Verity is unaware of), but they began their courtship through letters. Letters are lovely looks into a person’s soul, but not the entire story. Nate and Verity are desperately awkward together at first. I loved just how awkward they were. They have fun together. They make mistakes with each other. They get mad. It has all the ups and downs of love. But the one thing they have in common is that they are inherently kind. There are different ways to go about being kind, which Nate and Verity represent well. I did not expect there to be a competition for Verity’s affections though. So I was surprised when her head gets turned by the young doctor and suddenly we were in a love triangle. Truthfully, I’m over the love triangle. In this novel, I saw it more as a way to strengthen Nate and Verity than I did anything else. I guess I just didn’t take it all that serious because it was painfully obvious who needed to be together. Still, the young doctor plays an extremely important role in this novel aside from a love interest. He’s a necessary figure in moving the plot along and someone who, like Verity, has not lived his entire life in Catawissa. But he’s not Nate. That seems obvious at first, but you do not understand the real depth of Nate until the scene when Verity assists in her first surgery. I liked Nate before. I was head over heels for him after that. He is a good man. I suppose this is a coming of age story in some ways for both Verity and Nate. While there is the mystery behind the cages graves, this novel is a love story. Not just Nate and Verity’s love story, but Ransloe and Sarah Ann’s story, Verity and her mother as well. It is much more than just romantic love. I liked all the colorful townspeople who give Catawissa life in this novel. Verity is a curious creature that stands up for people but she makes mistakes too.I would love to imagine that her descendants are still running around Catawissa to this day.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
With the Civil War just recently ended and life returning to normal, Verity Boone leaves behind the only family she has ever known in Worcester, Pennsylvania to return to her birthplace of Catawissa in 1867. While she is leaving behind urban convenience and dear relatives, Verity is eager to see her father and her old family home. She is also keen to meet Nate, the man who courted her and proposed through letters, for the first time face-to-face. When Verity arrives in Catawissa nothing is quite what she expected. The Boone house is rundown and neglected. Her father is unsure how to reconcile the two-year-old daughter he sent away upon his wife's death with the seventeen-year-old woman who returned from Worcester. Even her father's housekeeper is distant. Worse, Nate is not what Verity expected from his letters. Faced with the reality of agreeing to marry a practical stranger, Verity wonders if coming back to Catawissa was a terrible mistake. Verity's misgivings multiply when she first visits the Catawissa cemetery. There she finds two graves encased in iron cages just outside the cemetery walls--buried in unconsecrated ground. Locals have any number of explanations: witchcraft, grave robbers, even rumors of hidden treasure. Verity knows these outlandish stories must be hiding a darker truth and she is determined to discover Catawissa's secrets. As Verity tries to unearth the truth about the caged graves and Catawissa's troubled past, she also begins to understand her own place in the town and among her own family in The Caged Graves (2013) by Dianne K. Salerni. The Caged Graves was inspired by two real caged graves the author saw in Catawissa. Nothing is known about the purpose of the cages but their presence inspired this novel. The Caged Graves is a spooky, gripping read. It does not, however, include any supernatural or paranormal elements despite what the jacket summary might suggest. This book is a straightforward historical mystery. And it's delightful. Verity is a determined, likable heroine in a thoroughly engrossing story. Salerni's writing is evocative of the period and well-paced as tension builds throughout the story. All of the characters in the story are well-developed and add to the story in their own way. Verity and Nate's uneasy courtship was a particularly nice story element. I was also thrilled to see Verity's reconnecting with her father become such a large part of the story. With so many (lovely) historical fantasies hitting the market it was nice to find The Caged Graves was a purer historical read. The mystery element sneaks into the story as the focus shifts from Verity adjusting to Catawissa life to Verity investigating the graves. Although the resolution was a bit rushed, the ending the of the story came together logically with a very gratifying twist. The Caged Graves is a pleasant read sure to leave readers happy and eager to research the era (and the real caged graves) as soon as the story is finished. Possible Pairings: Frost by Marianna Baer, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book. From the beginning to the very end, I enjoyed every minute. Lovely characterization, beautiful conflict, and an engaging story. Clean and HIGHLY recommended. Content: A little violence, a tiny bit of gore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best part is that i am one of her students