The Winter People; Jennifer McMahon
Doubleday and Random House Audio- 2014
Part psychological thriller, part ghost story, The Winter People was a good story to curl up by the fire with. It’s a story that blends the past with the present and takes place in the northern woods of Vermont.The audio version was read by Cassandra Campbell who did a very good job.
The story begins with long passage from the (1908) diary of Sara Harrison Shea, whose family farm bordered woodlands believed to be haunted. Sara and her husband Martin experience lost several babies until finally Gertie was born and all appeared to be fine. Sara was over protective of her young daughter, but there was no changing that, since Sara waited long and hard for a healthy child. One day Gertie, at the age of 6, goes missing and she found dead at the bottom of a well. Sara becomes hysterical and quickly unglued, and suddenly just weeks later, she too is dead, but this time it’s a mysterious and violent death.
Ruthie Washburne, a younger woman now lives in the same old farmhouse as Sara Harrison Shea. Ruthie’s younger sister Fawn, age 6, and their mother Alice also live there. When Ruthie’s mother mysteriously disappears, Ruthie is frantic as their mother is not one to leave the house. While searching for her mother unusual things are discovered in the old farmhouse including some secret passages. These, and even an old diary belonging to Sara's diary (pages are missing). As they dig more into their mother’s disappearance it appears that some supernatural ties “sleepers” from the past may be at play.
The story shifts back and forth with Sara’s story and present mystery. The blending of the past with the present was fairly well done and kept me engaged, but I enjoyed the focus on the "past" more. I was a little put off by the addition some undeveloped characters toward the end that appeared to be added for the purpose of rushing the ending along. Overall, it’s a decent story, even though for me it never felt too creepy (audio or eBook). The best part of this one, in my opinion, was the setting. The woods had a ghostly feel of its own, which helped keep the eeriness factor ever present in the reader’s mind throughout.
(eGalley and audio book)