The Winter People (Release Date: February 2014)
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.
Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search 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 into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
Add to Goodreads
I really wanted to love this book. It’s a best-seller. It’s a supernatural mystery. About half-way through I started to wonder why I wasn’t enjoying the read. And, then the end. Ugh. I’ll do my best not to reveal any spoilers.
The beginning sets up some intrigue and some wonderful descriptions of the setting. I’m there. I’m amped up for this story to move and shake me. There are some point of view shifts. I start thinking here’s a writer who’s going to tie everything together and knock my socks off. I can learn some crafty techniques. Well, that’s not really what happens…
Overall, I struggled to care about the characters. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there wasn’t enough for me to sink my teeth into. There were aspects I knew I was supposed to care about, but didn’t. Also, there are unbelievable characters. Sometimes it’s their behavior, other times it’s what they say. And, some characters feel like they’re just pawns of the plot. Ruthie’s boyfriend, for example, just disappears never to return to the story. Annoyances like that just seemed to pile up in the novel. For instance, Ruthie’s little sister has a doll that ‘knows’ things. That had some creepy potential, but never amounted to anything.
Without revealing the ending, I didn’t buy it. I also didn’t buy all the lame decisions these female characters made. I can’t really identify one who had a head on her shoulders, or who wasn’t a disappointment. For instance, I wanted to like Ruthie, but she winds up giving up her dreams in order to stay home and help her mom keep an eye on their ‘paranormal problem’. And, Candace is such a ridiculous ‘villain’. Her presence in the book is comical at best. Lastly, the aunt is the stereotypical evil witch. She’s the closest to a person of color, yet she’s demonized instead of made into a model of empowerment. Sigh.
Again, many readers praise this novel. One of the reasons I picked it up is one reviewer said it was so scary she had to lend it to a friend to get the book out of her house. I was like, wow, that must be something. It wasn’t for me. But it might be for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts, if you finish it.
Available on Amazon