Saturday, August 22, 2015

Julie's Review: The Univited

Author: Cat Winters
Series: None
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 368
Obtained: Bookslapped
Genre:  Gothic, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.75/5
Bottom Line: Atmospheric, stunning novel with quite the twist
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War. Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

Review: The Uninvited is an atmospheric story about a young lady who was holed up in her family home because she was afraid to live her life. This all changes one night when a crime occurs and Ivy has decided that she needs to leave. She wanders into town to look for boarding but Buchanan, IL has been struck with the Spanish Influenza; it has pretty much been deserted. She finds refuge with May Dover, widow of an old classmate Eddie Dover.

With Ivy's new found freedom, she tries to right the wrong of her family by helping the brother of the German who died in town. She feels extremely guilty that her family could cause another one such pain, that she literally feels it in her body. She tries to help Daniel clean up the business including the blood that her family shed but he, obviously, isn't exactly welcoming of her. For someone who has been a shut in, Ivy really is pretty persistent. Not only does Ivy end up helping Daniel but she also ends up helping some volunteers at night who are trying to help those afflicted with the flu in the poorer areas of town.

It is the jazz music that begins to work its way into Ivy's soul. It is through the music that she finds the courage to start to take control of her life. It is also her relationship with Daniel that helps her "come into her own" as well.  She begins to act in ways she never had before. Even her taking up with Daniel is out of character for her.

What I loved about Ivy was her innocence but she wasn't so naive or innocent that she didn't understand what was going on around her. It didn't stop her from finally deciding she had enough of her life as it was on the farm. Although having been raised and worked on a farm did come in handy when she needed to assist Addie and Nela with the crank on the ambulance. Ivy finally felt needed and wanted. It was something she never felt while living with her own family. She was the caretaker of her brothers or the protector of them from their alcoholic father.

Ms. Winters sets the stage early in the book for the ghostly visits for both Ivy and her mother. I was actually expecting more of a ghost story but was very pleasantly surprised while there are supernatural elements most definitely a story about finding out who you are and who you truly want to be. It's about breaking free from those things that bound you and experiencing the things you have missed.

For those who are fans of supernatural novels, then you won't want to miss The Uninvited. To those of you who might think the "ghost" aspect isn't for you, I heavily encourage you to read it anyway because you will be pleasantly surprised.

To check out more on this great novel click here to see USA Today's Happily Ever After excerpt.



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