Book Review: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

18007535The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Release Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 314
Price: $14.05

“Madness is always a wonderful excuse, don’t you think? For doing terrible things to other people.”

Small towns carry old legends and folklore that are passed around the dinner table like hot biscuits. Secrets, whose nature could be dark or light, suddenly become heavily guarded treasures of the past. People die, but secrets are forever; except when the secret is a person and that person can never die.

West Hall, Virginia 1908: Sarah Harrison Shea is found dead in the field behind her home only months after the death of her young daughter, Gertie. It was believed her husband shot and killed her, but not everything is so black and white. Sarah and her husband Martin had a good marriage. They had lost several children in infancy and a son Charles, when he was a year old. Gertie was their miracle baby and she soothed the grief that Sarah felt over the loss of her precious Charles. When Gertie dies, everything in Sarah’s world collapses. She becomes desperate for answers and desperate to have her daughter back. But Sarah has secrets from her past, dark secrets that return when she meddles with magic that she has no control over.

West Hall, Virginia Present Day: Nineteen year old Ruthie lives in the same farm house as Sarah, with her mother Alice and her younger sister Fawn. They live off the grid, much to the dismay of Ruthie, especially when Ruthie awakens one morning to find that her mother is missing. While Ruthie and Fawn look for clues as to her whereabouts they find a gun and Sarah Harrison Shea’s mysterious diary hidden beneath the floorboards of their mother’s bedroom. Soon, Ruthie becomes pulled into Sarah’s fate and the secrets that surround her own identity. She quickly discovers that she isn’t the only one looking for answers and that some secrets don’t stay buried.

McMahon’s books have been a point of contention for me. On the one hand, her writing kind of creeps me out and gets into my head. On the other hand, I fly right through it because it’s so suspenseful and mysterious that I NEED to know what happens. It’s been a few years since I last read one of her books and I wasn’t disappointed with this novel. I thought that it was eerie and dark, yet suspenseful and full of mystery. I had to make myself read it during the day because it freaked me out too much at night. It’s not scary, but it’s just creepy enough to linger in your mind for a while. All of her books have that underlying creepiness and a mystery that you need to unravel for your own sanity.

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