Title: The Winter People
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Acquired: ARC from Netgalley.com
Date Finished: 1/27/14
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.
It is not very often that I give a 5 Star review. Even most of my favorites will only get 4.5. Not to be a Negative Nancy, but I can usually find something in a book that irritates me. The Winter People earned every single star of this 5 Star Review!!
Let me start with the characters. McMahon made every character in this book interesting. Usually each chapter covered a different character and, not once, did I find myself rushing through one section to get to the next, more exciting, chapter. I really wanted to know what was happening in each storyline. As you can tell from the synopsis, part of the book is set in 1908 and part in present time. I have read a lot of books where this can become quite burdensome and/or tiresome. McMahon gave each time period its own distinct voice, and all of it kept the plot moving forward.
The mystery aspect was fabulous! There is a mystery going on in both time periods. I really liked how McMahon kept the mystery intact in both sections up to the very end. In a lot of books, the reader is made aware of what happened in the past to feed the present day story. McMahon avoided this scenario, leaving the reader to figure out what was happening in both. It leaves you with that “edge of your seat” feeling through most of the book.
The paranormal aspects were not overdone. McMahon had the opportunity to really go overboard, but she refrained. It was just the right amount of paranormal and horror. The way McMahon handled it made the scenarios believable. It had the perfect balance of creepy and mystery. There was one chapter I knew was going to start with one of the creepier storylines, and I could not bring myself to read it right before bed. I had to put the book down and start again the next morning in the daylight!
The Winter People has great characters, a wonderful plot, enough mystery to keep you guessing until the very end, and enough thrills and chills to make you sleep with a nightlight. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It releases today. Go get a copy! You’ll love it!!
I’d like to give a shout out to Netgalley.com, Doubleday Books and Jennifer McMahon for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.