Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon

Summary: The small village of West Hall, Vermont, has experienced a number of disappearances over the years. It has also seen its share of tragedies including that of Sara Harrison Shea who was found savagely murdered in her field in 1908.

In present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother and younger sister. She wakes up one morning to find her mother missing. While searching for clues, she finds Sara’s diary hidden under a floorboard in her mother’s room.

As she searches for her mother, Ruthie worries that history might repeat itself as she reads Sara’s diary. (Image from

My Review:  Who are the Winter People? They are the loved ones more commonly known as ghosts who walk in the shadows. This book attempts to answer the question: Would you bring a loved one back if you could?  It answers the question but also delves into the results of that answer in a horrifying manner.

Winter People combines elements of mystery, suspense, and horror. In the present day, Ruthie is searching for her missing mother while in 1908. Sara is dealing with the disappearance of her daughter. Ruthie lives in the farmhouse where Sara was found murdered and finds Sara’s diary. McMahon tells both their stories, alternating viewpoints and chapters. She brings elements of suspicion and suspense to both parts.

While I found the concept interesting, I did not find it as readable as McMahon’s other novels. She captures the characters voices well. Overall, McMahon does a great job capturing both voices. She also delivers some unexpected plot twists along the way. There was something unsettling in the story, however, it seemed as if there were many contrived elements that overlapped. For me, it was a matter of too many coincidences overlapping so as to make it unbelievable. This unbelievability pulled me out of the story.

The resolution at the end seemed rushed, and not in a good way. There were some unanswered questions and the final resolution made me uncomfortable.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  Elements of violence, gore and savagery. 

1 comment:

TheScribblingSprite said...

I heard of this one some time ago and thought it had an interesting concept. But I also didn't know the author had written anything else. I'll have to do some more digging, then!


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