dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author
The Caged Graves by author Dianne Salerni


In Catawissa, the dead don’t always stay where you put them… 17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania in 1867, pledged to marry a young man she’s never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. And a truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she thought she could trust. Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core.

The Caged Graves is a historical mystery inspired by two very real graves in the town of Catawissa, Pennsylvania. One belongs to Asenath Thomas, wife of John Thomas, who died in 1852, and the other is the grave of Sarah Ann Boone, wife of Ransloe Boone. Sarah Ann died within a few days of Asenath and was the sister of Asenath’s husband, John. The purpose of the cages is unknown. They may have been decorative, although no other cages were erected here or anyplace else. They may have served as protection. But — for whom? The dead … or the living? We may never know the real story behind these two intriguing graves, but I owe Asenath and Sarah Ann thanks for inspiring the story of my very own Verity Boone.

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  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Tome Society IT List 2014-15
  • The CLAU Behive Book Award List 2014-2015
  • Vermont Green Mountain Book Award List 2014-2015
  • The South Carolina Young Adult Book Award List 2015-2016
  • Alaska Association of School Librarians Battle of the Books 2015-2016
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award List 2016-2017


“Salerni grounds her story in local Revolutionary War lore, creates a spirited heroine with enough self-reflection to feel convincing, and crafts a suspenseful plot that skirts sensationalism. This unusual romantic mystery stands out.”
– Kirkus

“Immensely readable. . . Hand this fast-paced, creepy tale to fans of mysteries, forensics, paranormal and historical fiction, and the CSI TV series.”
– Booklist

“An absorbing, atmospheric, and dense work of historical fiction.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

“The perfect amount of stolen glances, tender kisses, and undeniable swoons.”
– Books Take You Places

The Caged Graves by author Dianne Salerni

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