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The Winter People: A Novel | [Jennifer McMahon]

The Winter People: A Novel

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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 )

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (506 )
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3.8 (458 )
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3.9 (458 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 05-04-14
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 05-04-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Book Spoiled By Poor Narration"

    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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Oakland, CA, United States 04-19-14
    D. Oakland, CA, United States 04-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Get past the narration of the first chapter"
    Any additional comments?

    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.")

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 04-17-14
    Judy 04-17-14

    I love a good supernatural story with good content, especially from authors that don't feel the need to add smut.

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    "Interesting from beginning to end"
    Where does The Winter People rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    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.


    What about Cassandra Campbell and Kathe Mazur ’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Nothing extreme, just an enjoyable read.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MissSusie66 02-17-14
    MissSusie66 02-17-14 Member Since 2010

    MissSusie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Atmospheric, Haunting, and Addictive"

    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!

    5 stars

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Booklover 03-05-14
    Booklover 03-05-14 Member Since 2012

    wrytermom

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    "Structure is confusing at first but good tale"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle Sundberg Isla Vista, CA United States 02-18-14
    Danielle Sundberg Isla Vista, CA United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Entertaining Mystery Novel"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Gloucester, VA, United States 02-16-14
    Debbie Gloucester, VA, United States 02-16-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Mysterious and spooky"
    What did you love best about The Winter People?

    This one had a slow start for me, it begins with Sarah's diary and it is read in such a morose and raspy way that almost turned me off to the book. As I hate to waste a credit I continued and soon enough I found it drew me in unitl I had to learn if it was insanity or true monsters that plagued these people. It got better and better so glad a stuck to it.


    What other book might you compare The Winter People to and why?

    Hmm, I cant think of another Ive read like this but it was well worth my time in the end.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, she did. She did translate the sadness and soul of the characters very well. You can feel the depression.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Oh I did cry toward the end when Sarah finally learns about how her daughter died and that she and her husband's love for her is very endearing.


    Any additional comments?

    I found slow areas for me but they were resolved quickly enough. A good spooky book.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina S Boreske 01-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "what an exciting story!"

    I have come across this story many times and I finally listened to it! To my surprise, it was exciting interesting and one of the best stories I have listened to in a while.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Venatries 11-05-14 Member Since 2013

    There are few things better than a good story well told!

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    "There's Probably a Good Story Here...Somewhere."

    I found this story engaging but very hard to follow. It seemed disjointed somehow. Maybe print would be better. I think chapter and section headings would have made a difference.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 07-28-14
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 07-28-14 Member Since 2012

    i like to read. i like to listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "mcmahon's latest and greatest success"

    this book was a horror story and a mystery story and a story of family and love and regret and desperation all wrapped up into a wonderfully written and quite engaging novel.

    the characters of ruthy and fawn were easy to root for...easy to love. sara and gertie were both mysterious and a tragic.

    i'm a fan of jennifer mcmahon. i think she writes a tightly wound thrilling story with extremely well thought out characters. she knows how to weave in the magical element where it's not hokey or over the top...it's actually believable and really draws you in as a reader.

    i will excitedly devour anything she writes until she stops writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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