BookPage Fiction Top Pick, February 2014
“The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.” Best-selling author Jennifer McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) opens her new novel, The Winter People, with a sentence that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the horrors to come in this marvelously creepy page-turner.
Set in on a rural farm in West Hall, Vermont, this multigenerational paranormal tale alternates between the early 19th century and the present. In 1908, Sara Harrison Shea and her husband, Martin, are blessed with a little girl, Gertie, after many years of failed pregnancies and loss. Sadly, Gertie perishes in a terrible accident, and Sara seems to be out of her mind with grief. She believes that Gertie is still with her, appearing in strange places, whispering to her, even holding her hand—that is, up until her own untimely death.
More than 100 years later, Ruthie and her sister, Fawn, are living in Sara’s farmhouse with their mother, Alice. One morning, Alice is gone without a trace, and Ruthie and Fawn stumble upon Sara’s diary while searching for clues about their mother’s disappearance. It gradually becomes clear that Alice’s disappearance is related to Sara’s sad life and tragic death—and to her belief that Gertie had returned from the grave. Using Sara’s diaries, they embark on a journey to find their mother and, in turn, discover shocking truths.
In The Winter People, McMahon gives readers just what they want from a good thriller: can’t-put-it-down, stay-up-until-dawn reading. In addition to being downright creepy, this novel is also a poignant reminder of what grief can drive humans to do. Lock your doors, check under your bed and soak up The Winter People, a legitimately chilling supernatural thriller.