Author: Jennifer McMahon
Type: Adult Fiction
Tea: Black tea, dark but with lots of unique flavor.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
*Warning! Here be spoilers!!*
*I received an ARC of The Winter People from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
The first book I read by Jennifer McMahon, Promise Not to Tell, was amazing so when I saw this as an option on NetGalley I knew I had to request it. And oh boy was I glad I did.
The Winter People was everything I loved about Promise Not to Tell and more. It terrified me, I didn't want to turn my lights off to go to sleep. It had great characterization, a great story line and a great ending. For me in Promise Not to Tell that's what was missing, so Ms. McMahon definitely made up for it in The Winter People.
This is, easily put, a ghost story. But not your average ghost story. You learn the story of Sara, her husband and her daughter, Gertie, through a journal of hers that is found and published. Their storyline is set (mostly) in the early 1900's.
Then we meet Katherine, Ruthie and Fawn, and their story is set in the present day. And the great thing about this novel is all the characters tie together. It was really great seeing how they wind up connecting because it seems that there is no remote chance that they do, in fact, connect.
Some of the surprises (such as Auntie) I could sort of figure out. Others (such as Sara and Gertie's fate) I was more surprised by.
Gertie is really freaking scary. Like all night all I could do was stare at my closet and hope she wasn't hanging out in there. Damn. Scariest four year old in the world. She gives the little boy in Pet Sematary a run for his money. Despite the fact that she's terrifying and, apparently, not going anywhere she's also a very sad character. You feel sad for her for everything she's gone through and how she has to continue to suffer.
The little kids in this story are all very intelligent, which I loved because kids can teach us things that we don't learn until we're much older. Gertie had a line in the book about animals having souls "Without a soul, how can you dream?" And it's so true! And little Fawn, she's brilliant and brave and would do anything for her family. She's a little creepy with her doll, Mimi (who I honestly thought would wind up being possessed or something), but other than that, she's cool.
Ruthie makes a good main character since she's not too young, but not old enough to have had certain experiences in her life that would change her perspective.
And the ending, the magnificent ending. You get everything tied up and answered, which is great. You also have one scary moment, much like the end of Pet Sematary. So here's the big spoiler...ish...if you don't want to read it, skip to the next paragraph: They didn't want there to be anymore sleepers (like Gertie) made, but little did they know Katherine did some magic to bring her husband back. She's sitting at home and gets a knock on her door. Holy. Crap. So freaky. It just leaves that wide open to all sorts of interpretation of what happens next. Yeesh, it freaks me out to think about.
Anyways, if you've never read Jennifer McMahon I highly recommend any of her novels, but particularly this one! She's fantastic! And maybe you'll want to sleep with a nightlight for awhile.