Saturday, March 8, 2014

Alice's Review: The Winter People

Author: Jennifer McMahon
Series: None
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 336
Obtained: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Wonderfully creepy
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

 Review:  I don’t read stories about the occult.  I hate being scared.  I believe in ghosts but I don’t need to see one in confirm that belief.  When I picked up The Winter People, I didn’t know it was about the walking dead.  Had I know, I’m pretty sure I would have passed it up.

I was pulled into this story from the very first page.  I was engulfed in a mystery that was bizarre and brilliant.  This novel made me constantly question what was real and what lived in the dark corners of Ms. McMahon’s mind.  It was wonderful.  The story flows beautifully, jumping back and forth through time and characters with ease.  

I really enjoyed the characters with my favorites being Ruthie, her sister Fawn, and the heartbroken Katherine.  I think Ruthie was such a well-rounded girl.  It was great to see how she matured through the novel, how brave she became when there was nothing to do except be brave.  I loved how the sisters banded together to find answers.  I will always be amazed at what a person is willing to do for those they love.  They can be completely irrational, clinging to the smallest amount of hope.  Or they can take on the biggest challenges together and not give up until the truth is revealed.   

Katherine was wonderful as well.  She was a study in grief.  Her centric chapters left me sad and mournful of what she lost.   I felt her sorrow, her pain.  I loved that she channeled that angst in her art.  To me, she was the most authentic.  I felt the same way towards Sara Harrison.  Grief is an interesting emotion to write about, an author has to get it just right or else it comes across as unauthentic.  Ms. McMahon knows sorrow. 

This novel is straightforward.  Each chapter opens up the story a bit more, gradually feeding the reader information while building up tension until a masterful twist is exposed.   The Winter People was thoroughly creepy, and I couldn’t put it down.  And man, how many times did I wonder if something like this could be real.  It felt real.  Occasionally I read a novel that is so stinking good, I wish I was more eloquent in describing it.  I wish I had the words to convince you of the power of that story.  I take books I rate 5 very seriously and I searched and searched for something to question that rating.  I found nothing.  The Winter People is that good.



Unknown March 9, 2014 at 8:41 PM  

I have a copy of this book and so I only skimmed your review, but I'm so glad you liked it! I hope I enjoy it too.

Alice March 10, 2014 at 9:14 AM  

I really think you will. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. Enjoy!

Anonymous ,  March 14, 2014 at 10:44 PM  

I didn't know this book was about the walking dead either and if I hadn't read your review it would have been a deal breaker!

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