LoveVampires - the website dedicated to vampire fiction.
With vampire book reviews, information and author interviews.

Search LoveVampires Site:

Custom Search
Skip Navigation
Bookmark and Share
The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove Cover Picture

The Shadow Girl of
Birch Grove

Marta Acosta

Published 2010        269 pages

Summary (author’s description)

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. It is.

Soon she starts receiving threatening messages from an unknown enemy. She's also beginning to suspect that the pale elegant headmistress and her gorgeous sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the sunny, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the dark, quirky older brother, who constantly puzzles her.

The longer she stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and the headmistress and her family.

What will she give up and what risks will she take to stay in this privileged world and be bound to Birch Grove forever? What's Jane willing to sacrifice for this once in a lifetime opportunity?

The Review

Along with only reading books about vampires LoveVampires has two other site rules. We don’t read e-books and we never read self published books. As site editor my reasons for these rules are sound. I dislike reading from the computer screen and having been a life-long bibliophile I’m somewhat attached to my paper books (no Amazon Kindle or Sony e-Reader for me!)  Reading fiction from a computer screen usually makes me fidgety with the result that I find it impossible to connect with the story. The never reading self published books rule is more to save my sanity and preserve my love of reading – the majority of them are so awful that I’d rather not read – and I love reading!

However, a rule is proved by its exceptions and The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove is the exception that proves mine. Okay, so technically the book isn’t self published, Marta Acosta author of the bestselling Casa Dracula series has made the book available as a free PDF download for her readers but you know what I mean. It’s a mystery to me why this novel hasn’t been snapped up for publication. And I read this from the computer screen in a couple of sittings without my attention wandering. So it’s fair to say that this book is exceptional.

Written for the Young Adult market The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove is the story of orphan Jane, who finds that education and study are her ticket out of her inner-city group foster home to an elite academy but soon discovers that nothing is quite as perfect as it seems.

There are huge parallels between The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove and Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre and this was part of the story’s attraction for me. (Jane Eyre was the first book that I stayed up all night reading when I was a teenager and it’s an understatement to say I loved that book.) For the first couple of chapters of the book Jane Williams and Jane Eyre tread the same path, just swapping out the cruelly cold Victorian school setting for an equally bleak modern day inner-city foster home.

Jane Williams, like Jane Eyre, is a plain and serious teenager. She channels her energy into bettering herself and escaping her upcoming through education, but (like Eyre) she isn’t without passion and feeling. Seizing her opportunity to become have a full scholarship at the Birch Grove Academy for Girls, Jane willing leaves everything and everyone she has ever known behind, setting out to Birch Grove as a sixteen year-old emancipated minor.

Upon Jane’s arrival at the Academy the plot of Jane Eyre and Shadow Girl split further apart, the story giving readers a modern day gothic treat with characters that are far easier to identify with than those in Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel. The fog shrouded Birch Grove setting is creepy and atmospheric, its whispering trees and hints of hidden dark secrets are guaranteed to keep readers quickly turning pages.

Fans of Acosta’s Casa Dracula books will recognise the signs that indicate vampires are present. New readers will just be left to worry about why so many people in this remote picture perfect town prefer their meat to be served extremely rare…

The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove lacks Casa Dracula’s trademark witty comedy but laugh-out-loud humour would detract from the sinister gothic feel of the story. Besides Jane Williams is already serious and sincere and an entirely different character to Casa Dracula’s Milagro De Los Santos who would like to be serious and sincere but frequently fails to be so due to her silly nature.

Shadow Girl is recommended reading for teen gothic/vampire fiction fans as well as for Jane Eyre fans of any age. Bloody brilliant!

The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove is available for free download at Scribd. The free download version has been removed from Scribd because Shadow Girl has now been sold for publication. Yay! Don’t forget to share this good news with your friends.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Latest Reviews

LoveVampires RSS Feed

Editor’s Choice

Editor's Choice

Magic Rises
by Ilona Andrews

If you’re looking for an urban fantasy story featuring a kick-ass heroine with real intelligence, a lively wit, valiant heart and killer sword skills then look no further than Magic Rises latest installment of the Kate Daniels UF series.
Read the Magic Rises review.


Latest Interview

J. R Ward Picture

J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward talks to the LoveVampires site about LOVER UNLEASHED the latest book in her phenomenally popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series and drops a few hints on what’s in store for BDB fans in the future…
Read the J.R. Ward interview

Book Giveaway

Giveaway details and entry form

WIN a copy of Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll. We have one copy to giveaway – open WORLDWIDE!

Site Videos

Watch popular vampire related videos

Watch book trailers, author interviews, vampire movie and TV show information and trailers.


Subscribe to the LoveVampires email newsletter and get site news, reviews and information delivered direct to your mailbox.
Join the mailing list

Review Ratings

  • 1 star = Poor
  • 2 star = Below average
  • 3 star = Average
  • 4 star = Good
  • 5 star = Excellent