Friday, July 24, 2015

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon


For my final book in my 2015 Goodreads Reading challenge I read "The Winter People" by Jennifer McMahon.  This is not my usual genre but I have to say I enjoyed it.  I am not sure how to classify this book -- a mystery or horror -- but it was a bit of both and a lot of murder.  It was also historical fiction involving multiple generations.  So, you can see it was a bit complicated.
It was the story of Sara, Martin, Gertie and Auntie.  They lived in the 19th century Vermont.  They were the subjects of a book -- "Visitors from the Other Side" writtenby Sara's niece, Amelia Larkin. 

My beloved aunt, Sara Harrison Shea, was brutally murdered in the winter of 1908.  She was thirty-one years old.

"Visitors from the Other Side" was the secret diary of Sara Harrison Shea that detailed her life with her parents, Auntie and her coming to learn about sleepers.

The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.  It was the spring before Papa sent Auntie away--before we lost my brother, Jacob. My sister, Constance, had married the fall before and moved to Graniteville.

This story of Sara, Martin, Gertie and Auntie was the foundation for the whole book.

Present time -- Ruthie, Fawn, and Alice

Ruthie, Fawn and their mother Alice live in the Harrison-Shea house with all it's secret places and hidey holes. The house backs up to the woods and Devil's Hand.  The girl's were taught to never go into the woods -- bad things happen to little girls who go into the woods.  People disappear.  Alice disappears.  Will  they find her?  What did she know?  What did she do?

Present time -- Candace

She knew the whole story but wanted to find the missing diary pages for financial gain.  Did she find them?  Did she profit or did she get something else?

Present time -- Katherine, Gary and Austin

All Gary wanted was for Austin to come back.  Could the diary help him get Austin back or would it prove to leave Katherine alone?  Would the diary take Katherine in a direction from which there was no turning back?

As you can see there is a very twisting, intertwined plot.  Each story stands on its own yet the entire story feeds on the interconnection.  This book is well written, the twists and turns are plausible and don't seem to be contrived.  It is a good mystery, enough horror to make it just scary enough and there is a bit of cliff hanger. 

Would I recommend this book?  Yes.  It isn't my usual sort of read but it was good and drew me in.  I did find myself worrying about Fawn and her fever though -- she really didn't need to be out running around in the snow at night with a bad fever and I wish they would have just left her home.  I guess that was just a "mommy moment".