Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, "Sleep well, and stay where I put you." Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene's death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk. Melissa Marr is known to young adult readers as the author of the popular faery series, Wicked Lovely. This is her debut leap into adult fiction.
If you've been reading along with me for a while, you may have noticed my love of cemeteries. (If not, See this post from last Halloween.) I spend a lot of time in graveyards (not as much as I did when the kids were younger and easier to entertain) and my kids have been groomed in cemetery etiquette from a very young age. Our family has cared for over 20 gravesites in the local area- all of which are ancestors of my husband's- for the past six years. I make sure that the headstones (some of which are over 200 years old) are kept free of moss and lichens and that the flowers put out stay fresh. Our ancestors are long gone but their legacy lives on in each of us. We are who we are because of those who came before so we should respect the past by "minding" or caring for their final resting places. In the town of Claysville, graves not properly minded can lead to dire consequences. I loved Maylene's character. She is such a beautiful woman- strong, self reliant and trusting. She knows who she is and what her place is in the world and she accepts it with grace and dignity. Rebekkah is also an interesting woman. I really enjoyed watching her exorcise her demons over the course of the story. She goes from avoiding her issues and running from them when the going gets tough to meeting them relatively head on. Nothing is perfect but she feels like she has a place, a purpose and she accepts that she is not alone in it. Charles as the personification of Death is a pretty interesting character as well. He's complex and interesting. His relationship with the Undertaker is so different from his relationship with the Graveminder but all three have their place in the relationship. William and Byron are such great guys. You'd think the Undertakers would be boring and depressing and in reality they are interesting and full of life. The world that Melissa Marr has built in this book is amazing. You feel as if you have stepped right into this stranger little town. Overall, this story has it all. There's aspects of the paranormal, complex discussions of right and wrong, love and the concept of choice versus control. There is not one thing that detracts from this lovely book. This one is definitely headed to my keeper shelf.
You can find out more about Melissa Marr by checking out her website. You can also find her books on Goodreads by clicking here. Her Wicked Lovely books are amazing so be sure to check them out. Melissa Marr can also be found on Twitter. Graveminder earns 5 Fairies for being one of my favorite reads of all time!