Review–The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People
by Jennifer McMahon
Summary: The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.
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.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Don’t Breathe A Word by the same author is definitely one of the creepiest novels I’ve ever read that wasn’t really a horror novel. When I saw The Winter People on a list of spooky books to read in October, I knew I had to grab it. I’m a huge fan of the author because of her ability to write and combine a spellbinding creepy tale with a literary feel to it and I knew The Winter People wouldn’t disappoint.

I liked The Winter People and it definitely had a ton of magical and scary elements because of the setting. Something strange was happening at Devil’s Hand and the residents of the small town had their own legends about it. People went missing, legends arose, and the journal from Sarah Harrison Shea in 1908 added to the mystery.

I loved the legend and history in The Winter People and the way it read like a true story. It was believable while also being incredibly unbelievable at the same time and I think that’s what makes a creepy idea work. However, if you’ve ever read or seen Pet Sematary and you’re familiar with any rising from the dead types of legends, it’s a tad predictable and it’s definitely something we’ve all seem before. Basically, it’s never a good idea to bring people back from the dead or attempt to delve into legends where such a thing was deemed possible. But it’s always a bit interesting to see what happens to people who don’t know that!

Despite the predictable nature of the otherworldliness in The Winter People, the tale was captivating and I found myself wondering what would happen to the characters, both in 1908 and in the present. It pales in comparison to Don’t Breathe A Word, but the quality of the writing is sound and I definitely recommend reading it. Part of the reason I think it didn’t resonate as much with me is because I’m over walking dead, white walkers, zombies, and ghosts because current television entertainment is just oversaturated with it.


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