If Our Bones Could Talk

A Novel

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Pub Date Mar 10 2024 | Archive Date Mar 09 2024

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In 1890 New Orleans, Francesca Ferro is confronted with the murder of her father. His death brings Francesca both dread and relief as she recounts the misery he brought to the Ferro family. With his death, she's hopeful their problems are over; however, Francesca soon realizes their problems have just begun.

Francesca inherits Father's failing oyster saloon and his debts—and now it's up to Francesca to save her family from destitution. Matters are further complicated when Francesca's 12-year-old brother, Giuseppe, is arrested for Father's murder.

Francesca knows he's innocent and determines to save her brother from hanging, even if she must risk her own life. She believes the answer to exonerating Giuseppe might also be the answer to saving her family from poverty. She embarks on an investigation that takes her places she never imagined—even pursuing a dangerous criminal from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico.

Her life is further complicated when she meets Creole oysterman, Remy LeBlanc. Falling in love was never part of her plans. There's too much at stake, she doesn't need any distractions.

With If Our Bones Could Talk, Melissa Quitadamo offers a glimpse into the past and a novel brimming with mystery, adventure, and a touch of romance.

In 1890 New Orleans, Francesca Ferro is confronted with the murder of her father. His death brings Francesca both dread and relief as she recounts the misery he brought to the Ferro family. With his...

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Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

I received this from Netgalley.com.

Good read. Set in 1890's New Orleans, Frankie struggles with all that life throws at her.


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If Our Bones Could Talk is a phenomenal debut novel that is stock full of mystery, intrigue, adventure, tenacity, fortitude and love. There is a wonderful theme in new literature that celebrates the strength of women in the Victorian era, defying convention and I am absolutely here for it

Francesca Ferro lives in New Orleans and in 1890, she is faced with her fathers murder. He was a truly awful father and terminally unpleasant man, but he left behind an Oyster Bar and a mountain of debts for Francesca to take over. However, things become even more desperate when Francesca's 12 year old brother Giuseppe is accused of their fathers murder and looks like he will hang for it

Francesca's fight to save her brother and unmask the real murderer takes her from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, encountering a litany of varied characters on the way

This book is so elegant, the narrative is lyrical yet strong and the character development is exceptional. The era and locations are very well researched, transporting the reader so well, that you almost feel the heat on your face as you read

A stunning debut that I cannot recommend enough

Thank you to Netgalley, BooksGoSocial and Melissa Quitadamo for this beautifully written ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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Set in New Orleans in the late 1800s, a young woman tries to sort out the family business after the murder of her father. The stakes grow higher when her brother is arrested for the crime.

This book is a wonderful glance into a period of time where women had few rights or protections, and few options other than marriage. Francesca navigates through all those obstacles while searching for her father's killer, trying to exonerate her brother, and earning enough to keep herself and her mother fed. Traveling with her while she faces dangers seen and unseen will keep the reader engaged all the way through to the unexpected ending.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

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Thank you to NetGalley, BooksGoSocial, & Melissa Quitadamo for this ARC of If Our Bones Could Talk! This is an excellent book if you're looking for a relatively quick standalone mystery with intense stakes and great twists. I easily read it in one evening. I say easily because the writing drew me right in and I really didn't want to put the book down until I was done. I think I was most impressed with Melissa Quitadamo's writing style! She was able to make me feel like I was in this story right away. All of the characters are phenomenally written and I felt that the setting was really brought to life, which isn't always easy to do with historical fiction so that was nice.

Francesca is a particularly well done character, and I was really connected to what she was feeling throughout the book. I loved her relationship with her brother and how much she's willing to do to save him. I loved Remy as well! It was fun to see the two of them working together and growing closer. I also really enjoyed how the more complex relationships Francesca has with her dead father, her mother, and her uncle were done! I think that complexity being depicted so well is a good part of what made the book as satisfying as it was for me.

I think the first part of If Our Bones Could Talk was great and had me hooked early on. I couldn't help but be invested in finding the killer when I was so connected to Francesca and her motivations. The third & final part was emotionally intense and there were times I was very surprised. I appreciate how I was able to be fully taken by twists that still made perfect sense. I do think there were times in the middle that were a little slow. I never skimmed but there were a few moments I felt like I wanted to a bit. It does definitely pick back up and I was right back to having to turn the page to see what would happen next.

I think if you're a fan of historical fiction, If Our Bones Could Talk is a good choice. It's set in a popular time period for historical fiction (1890s), but in a place that I don't think is as common for a setting in that period. I found myself intrigued by that and I'm glad I did because of how much I enjoyed this. Of course, I recommend this book to fans of mystery novels. I really liked that aspect of the book and how it was done. Also, if you're a fan of one of those genres and looking to try the other, I think this book could be a nice bridge for you!

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When Francesca Ferro is faced with the mysterious death of her father, she finds herself the sole inheritor of a failing saloon and new head of the family. With new responsibilities, she must figure out a way to move forward however when her younger brother is arrested for their fathers’ murder, she has to put everything aside to find the true murderer and save her brother from hanging.
If our bones could talk is a historical fiction and mystery novel based in 1800’s New Orleans. This is not the usual genre of book I would go for and very much judged a book by its cover on this one and headed into this read completely blind and I’m glad I did.
The book was full of mystery, intrigue, and adventure and while reading I felt like I had no idea where the book was going but in an enjoyable way, it was not predictable, and the twists were excellent.
The authors world building and descriptions of new Orleans felt incredibly authentic and it was easy to picture. I loved reading the relationship between Francesca and her brother and how it progressed throughout the book.
The only downside I found to the book is that there were some parts of the story that seemed almost like filler and didn’t necessarily need to be in there or have any greater meaning toward the plot.
Overall I am glad I decided to read this book and very much look forward to reading other words from Melissa Quitadamo

- Review added separately to Goodreads

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I loved the use of 1890s New Orleans and how it worked in the mystery element of this book. I enjoyed the overall feel of the story and thought the concept was everything that I wanted. The characters felt like they were supposed to and enjoyed going through this adventure with them. I enjoyed the way Melissa Quitadamo wrote this and left me wanting to read more.

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