Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Winter People

Title: The Winter People
Author:  Jennifer McMahon
Publication Information:  Doubleday, Random House LLC. 2014. 314 pages.
ISBN:  0385538499 / 978-0385538497

Book Source:  I received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "I guess ... we all do what we think is best. Sometimes we make terrible mistakes, sometimes we do the right thing. Sometimes we never know. We just have to hope."

The Winter People addresses the question, "If you'd lost someone you love, wouldn't you give almost anything to have the chance to see them again?" It is a sad and sometimes disturbing ghost story. The story goes back and forth over time and between characters.

First, there is Sara. The reader hears from her and about her in her childhood, when she is a motherless child being cared for by "Auntie" and when she first encounters a "sleeper." The reader also hears from her and about her when she becomes a mother herself and when she devastatingly loses her daughter Gertie.

Then, there is Rosie. Rosie is a teenager, living with her mother and her sister in an isolated home off the grid - an isolated place that happens to be the house in which Sara lived. Her family's unusual lifestyle leaves her with dreams of more and dreams of a different life. Then, one day her mother disappears, and Rosie is left to care for her sister and to figure out the mystery of her mother's disappearance and the life she's always known.

Then, there is Katherine. She is a young widow, still trying to determine what brought her husband to a place that ultimately led to his death.

Then, there is the place itself - Devil's Hand - a place of woods and strange rock structures and even stranger happenings. It is the place parents tell their children to stay away from. It is the place of the stories used to scare children. Are the stories just stories? What is the reality that lies beneath?

Finally, there are the "sleepers" - those once dead but brought back. How? Why? To what end? To what result?

The story keeps you guessing. It is interesting to go back and forth across time as the story progresses along the different threads to ultimately come together towards the end. I have to say; I did not see the ending coming. I guessed at bits and pieces, but not all. That made the story all the more fun to read.

Parts of the book are scary. Parts are emotional and sad - the loss of a child, the loss of a spouse, the desire to touch someone who is gone just one more time. The whole thing is an entertaining read.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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