The New York Times best-selling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters...sometimes too unbreakable.
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, 19-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.
©2014 Jennifer McMahon (P)2014 Random House Audio
"Jennifer McMahon is a writer of exceptional talent, and The Winter People is a hypnotic, gripping, and deeply moving thriller. With her beautifully drawn characters and complex, layered, and suspenseful story, McMahon has woven a dream from which I didn't want to wake - and couldn't have even if I wanted to." (Lisa Unger, author of In the Blood)
"In an edge-of-your-seat scary ghost story, Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People yanks you from one page to the next by expertly weaving the past and present. I will never look at the woods behind my home in the same way again!" (Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence )
The Winter People is a ripping good ghost story that has good twists, turns, and surprises. The story jumps around in time between the past and the present, however, and is a bit hard to follow if you are not listening carefully.
Some of the narration was great; however, the narration of the first chapter -- in which the reader was, presumably, attempting to sound lyrical & whimsical -- made me want to put a pencil through my eardrum. Almost returned audiobook at that point but skipped past it & as the narrative got more serious, so did the narration. Thankfully. (I really wish some of these reader would just read & stop trying to "act.")
What's October without some goosebumps? It's challenging to find a good scary read that doesn't run through your head like a low budget horror film, so my October horror/thriller binge this year began with this novel, chosen from previous Audible members' great reviews. McMahon starts off strong creating an eerie and remote tale set against a bitter winter in Vermont during the early 1900's. From the opening pages, the story is charged with forboding and chills as a young Sara Harrison tells about the day she glimpsed a villager in the woods, whose funeral she had just attended. The distraught mother of the supposedly dead girl whisks her away and whispers to Sara, "Maybe someday you'll love someone enough to understand." Someday she will...
The story moves back and forth from the past to present day as McMahon gathers a diverse cast of characters that will all be affected by the mysterious legends of the Winter People. In the modern sequences the story starts to reveal it's secrets when Alice, the eccentric mother of girls Ruthie and Fawn disappears and the girls began a search that turns up clues right beneath the floorboards in their mother's bedroom. Another present day character is a newly widowed woman that is still mourning the death of her son. Her need to understand the recent death of her husband propels her on a journey parallel to Ruthie and Fawn's. Throughout their journeys, entries from Sara's diaries are read that flesh out the legend and the characters, building the sense of impending doom when the searcher's paths collide.
The tale is thick with atmosphere and suspense, an immersive read that is spooky and engaging, but it does require a hefty dose of suspending logic if you want to just enjoy a supernatural read for the sake of some good shivers. Sadness and sorrow don't automatically erase IQ points and make us stupid, and following the monster into a dark cave unarmed and unassisted is just that. I remember seeing a movie that began with a young couple walking in the front door of their newly acquired home where they are greeted by a threatening ghostly voice that moaned, "Get out!" For someone that would have left a smoking path of retreat, it's always hard to figure out what people that don't heed any kind of ghostly advice are thinking. But therein lies the crux of the Thriller.
Recommend for a good spirited and creepy spine-chiller; the idea is vaguely along the lines of King's Pet Semetary. Wasn't it Queen that sang, "Who wants to live forever?" This book will add an *!* to that rhetorical question.
I almost stopped reading this book because the narrator was so annoying. Because it got good reviews from reviewers I respect, I bought the Kindle companion and read the book.
The narrator reads the beginning in a breathy voice that got on my last nerve. I suppose she thought it sounded childlike, but it was simply irritating.
The story hops back and forth between present and past. The narrator made it incomprehensible. I was totally lost. Once in the Kindle book, I had to begin over again to get the story sorted out.
I'm glad I did, it was a worthwhile read. The plot is novel, the characters realistic and engaging. The ending provides an interesting twist on immortality.
I recommend this book, but only on Kindle or in print.
This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I don’t think I took a breath for the last hour or so. I did not want to put this book down, I needed to know what exactly was going on with everyone in the book!
This is a great story, atmospheric, haunting, and addictive. I loved how all the stories came together and all the timelines were very well written and flowed beautifully with each other. The past & present stories were both great. I also really liked the characters especially Sara because I think she went through the most emotionally.
This is a hard book to review because the way the story wraps around it would be so easy to spoil it for someone and I wouldn’t want anyone to not get the full effect of how this story plays out. So much of the story leaves you guessing and wondering what is real and what is not and I enjoyed the parts of Sara’s diary that gives so many clues as to what is really going on but also leaves much unsaid or lost. The craziness of the first big reveal caught me totally off-guard it wasn’t something I expected at all and that makes for a great book!
Cassandra Campbell & Kathe Mazur were the narrators and I thought they did a wonderful job even if their voices are very similar you still knew who was telling the story. I thought they were able to bring a softness to the tale when warranted and creeped me out just enough!(which is a good thing)
This is so much more than a ghost story it is also a story of family and what that means and how you treat people may come back to haunt you (heehee see what I did there?). But the ending OMG the ending in reference to Katherine did she?? Didn’t she??? And poor Ruthie I feel bad for her. Sorry, but just had to have my say on that and make it spoiler free, when you read the book you will understand and Yes you really do need to read this book!
Lesson #1 from this book let the dead stay dead!
I didn't read the print version, but for me, the narrator really distracted me from the story, so I have to assume that I would have liked the print version better.
Throughout the entire book, the narrator sounded pretentious and melodramatic, which was not at all who the characters were. Her focus was so greatly on her snooty diction, that sentences didn't seem to flow correctly, in the intended rhythm. Some words were dragged out unnecessarily, (e.g. "in the living rooooom, on the shellllvesss"). I'll be steering clear of her in the future, as she did this wonderful book a great disservice.
In my dreams, I'd listen to ANY book in one sitting.
This is a haunting, compelling story. Once I made it through the weird drugged-sounding narration of the first chapter, I was drawn into the story itself and can't wait to read more by Jennifer McMahon, but I would absolutely read the print version next time.
No, I wouldn't. It is rare I read books more than once as there are so many books I want to read. But that does not diminish the talent of this author or my enjoyment of this book. I will make it a point to read her other books.
No. That is what I meant by "In the neighborhood......." It was almost a thriller, almost scary, almost a mystery, etc. But not quite. I was never scared, never on the edge of my seat, but I listened almost constantly. I enjoyed the story line, the characters, their different perspectives, the back and forth from the past to the present. Many excellent elements.
Cassandra Campbell makes everything more enjoyable. And Kathe Mazur is excellent as well. The two of them together was a real treat.
Yes, there were a few but if I told what they were i would spoil the story.
The only complaint I have is the story ended a bit to abruptly for my taste. But perhaps the author is planning on a sequel. Still, it was a bit like Thanksgiving. Many, many, many hours shopping for, preparing and serving the dinner. Then 30 minutes eating and your done. I suppose I just wanted to savor it a bit longer.
I found this audiobook very interesting and entertaining. It held my interest and I was excited to get in the car every morning and get to listen to the story further. I found the weaving of the story lines from the two different times periods (1908 and present day) told from the perspective of the different characters to be an effective story telling device. I was pretty easily able to figure out the ending, but, even so, it was still enjoyable to listen and hear the story unfold.
I love a good supernatural story with good content, especially from authors that don't feel the need to add smut.
This is one of the best stories I've read lately. So often, the background story is given in the beginning and doesn't capture the readers interest but this author captured my interest from the very beginning.
Not on the edge of my seat but I looked forward to quiet time so I could listen to the story. I even shooed my husband out of the room once so I could have quiet to listen.
I hate to sound insulting but I do not like Cassandra Campbell's voice. She sounds so incredibly whiny that I want to reach through the book and slap her. This is the third book I've read that she's narrated and once she goes into her version of helplessness, it is mind-numbing.
Nothing extreme, just an enjoyable read.
The perfect suspense story to listen to while snowed in on a cold winter's night. Not the gratuitous violence associated with the horror genre, just a nice cerebral quest into the truly frightening realm of what if.
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