Monday, March 10, 2014

The Winter People; Jennifer McMahon

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.
3.5/5 stars
(eGalley and audio book)

12 comments:

  1. I'm glad it's not too creepy but I wish you'd liked it a little more.

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  2. The author is new to me so I am very glad to read your review even though you did not like it so very much.

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  3. I've been seeing this book everywhere lately. Thanks for your honest opinion - I'll wait for a few more reviews before making a decision on whether to read it!

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  4. I'm glad it's not too creepy, and I always like Cassandra Campbell's narration.... might give this a try at some point.

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  5. I have my eye on this one. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I guess I liked it a little more than you did. It was just the right amount of creepy though.

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  7. Hmmm. I want creepy. Don't you hate it when an author throws in characters just to move the story along?

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  8. I just listened to this on audio, too. I really like it. I am sorry you didn't like it a bit more!

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  9. Since we visited Vermont last fall, I'm interested in books set there. This looks pretty good.

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  10. I enjoy Cassandra Campbell's narration. Sounds pretty good!

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  11. I loved this one more than you especially in audio. I was hooked. I didn't find it scary at all but I don't think it was supposed to be. More kind of creepy for me.

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  12. Sorry to hear this one wasn't creepy enough - McMahon usually does creepy so well!

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