Title: The Winter People
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Source: Gifted from my fabulous #OTSPSecretSister, Jamie from Vailia’s Page Turner
West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
As horror mysteries go, this one was creepy without being painfully scary. Typical of McMahon, there’s both paranormal chills and true-life fiction narratives running through the story. While the premise is fantastical, all of the characters have understandable motives and relatable weaknesses. Interestingly, the ensemble cast is entirely female, with male characters more a backdrop of sorrow than narrators.
No lie, there were times I got the shivers, but I scare easily- and this was not the scariest book I’ve read. So I think for most people, it’ll be more creepy than horrifying. However, the concept is definitely solidly in the horror genre. It’s also a quick read, with an even pace and a neat bow-tied resolution at the end. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Don’t Breathe a Word, but that’s mainly because Don’t Breathe a Word walked an excellent line between “is this paranormal” and “are these insane but real people”.
Still and all, I’d recommend it for fans of light horror and mystery, especially of the dark-woods-dark-secret type.