Winter People by Jennifer McMahon (3 out of 5)


I have picked this one up more times than I can keep track of. There was something about the starkness of the cover and the weather in Chicago at that time. So I waited and started reading it this past weekend. It was a fairly seamless ride, and I read it pretty quick. McMahon sure knows how to craft a story- the ending.. well, loved the wrap-up on this story. However, the beginning and middle were a problem for me. I just couldn’t get into this story, and that’s a shame because once the whole thing wrapped, well, I really enjoyed the resolution. The build-up, not as much. I haven’t had that happen in a long while, as far as books I’ve read. This is the first book I’ve read by McMahon, although she’s written quite a few.

West Hall, Vermont, is the site of this creepy paranormal/horror story (except I wasn’t horrified, sadly). Odd disappearances, murders, and old myths are stuff of legend in this creepy little town. McMahon sets this up well; I kept picturing the house as “Amityville”. Sara Harrison Shea dies mysteriously in 1908, found dead in a field behind her farmhouse. Months before that, Sara’s daughter Gertie dies. Fast forward years later, and young Ruthie is now living in that same farmhouse with her mother and sister. There really isn’t much doing in the way of anything in this bleak setting, and the farmhouse is spooky as hell from the start of Ruthie’s part of the story, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the reader when Ruthie’s mother Alice suddenly vanishes one morning. I hate to say I saw that coming, but I did. In hunting for her mother, Ruthie discovers a journal hidden underneath the floorboards in the house- the journal is that of the long-dead Sara. Ruthie decides to read it, hoping to find clues to what happened to Sara, and somehow this ties into the disappearance of Alice and everything going down in the farmhouse. I found that to be a bit of a stretch, although it did make a little bit more sense to me when I got to the resolution. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any sense of connection with Ruthie, Alice, Sara, or any of the other characters. It was supposed to be one of these books that keeps you up nights; instead, it made me want to vacuum the rugs in my house at midnight. Just not feeling this one at all. Like I said, though, when you hit the end, well, it’s truly something. You wish the whole book had that something. For me, it just didn’t.

~ by generationgbooks on March 31, 2015.

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