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The Winter People: A Novel
Format: Hardcover|Change
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VINE VOICEon May 9, 2014
The Winter People is overall a well written, intricate, tightly woven story. It held me throughout every page, so you might say to yourself, why only three stars? The three stars isn't because it wasn't well written, isn't because the characters were not well developed and not because it didn't hold my attention to the point of my reading with burning eyes late into the night. It's because toward the end, while the story is being brought to a close, details revolving around the actions of some main characters were just to inplausible for words. I don't want to give anything away, so I won't go into detail, however I will say that the decisions of Alice and her husband (Fawn & Ruthie's parents) were just too far fetched for me. It was too unbelievable, even for a story that in itself is unbelievable. Obviously, it's fiction and of the horror genre to boot, so one might say, what sort of realism can you expect to find in a story like that? Well, I expect that the fantastical will occur, however, the decisions and actions of characters should be believable in their response to the fantastical, at least in my opinion.

Am I unhappy that I read the book....no, I'm not. It was a real page turner and I enjoyed becoming engrossed in a story in that way, however, I do feel a bit let down by the unbelievable nature of the explanations given by one of the characters at the end of the book. Do I think that it's worth your time....I think you should be the judge of that. The suspence, the plot twists and turns, the unexpected and horrifying might just make it worth it to you, too.
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on September 22, 2017
Meh. The only truly frightening scene comes at the very beginning, when a young Sara sees the corpse of a dead classmate walking in the woods. That chilling start sets up an expectation of fear factor that the book doesn't live up to; it's mostly downhill from there. The different narrators and the jumps in time didn't work for me. The end is a mess. I would liken the book to a jigsaw puzzle of a truly scary picture in which the pieces are put together wrong so one catches a glimpse of something creepy here, something terrifying there, but the whole is incoherent. I didn't like "Promise Not to Tell" and I'm unlikely to give McMahon another try.
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on March 7, 2017
INCREDIBLY spooky! Really one of the best horror novels I’ve read in ages. Other reviewers have said it’s a worthy successor to Pet Sematery and I agree! The characters weren’t exceptional but they were pretty good, and the way McMahon revealed the history behind the “Sleepers” was great. My only problem was that it was confusing jumping between old diary entries and the present day, because the “old diary entry” parts also had 3rd person segments from characters besides the author of the diary. Other than that minor quibble, this was definitely one of the best horror stories I've read recently!
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on November 30, 2015
The story was okay and I was drawn in for the first 2/3rds of the book. Unfortunately the ending left a lot to be desired. There were a lot of missed opportunities and I felt that the ending was kind of forced and rushed.
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on August 10, 2017
I really enjoyed this book. McMahon did a wonderful job piecing together the past and present. It is written as if the past (via diary entries) is occuring during the present and contains various twists that actually took me by surprise. I definitely didn't expect the ending, although I did expect some kind of plot twist.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of thriller books. In fact, it was so well written, I could actually imagine how a movie based on this would look, blending the generations of issues into one finale.
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on January 19, 2017
This book had been on my "to be read" pile for almost two years. Each time I saw the silvery-white mylar book cover, it seemed to blink at me,saying "You want me next. You really do." I ignored it. After all, books don't really talk! Well, do they?

They do, and in this haunting, first-rate, ghost thriller, McMahon picks up the classical tools of the genre and combines them in a wholly new and unexpected way. McMahon wastes no time getting down to business. The suspense starts building on page one. By the middle of the book, it was nearly 2am, and several cups of coffee later, I felt like an overwound alarm clock. Just one more shock, one more revelation, and all my springs would come shooting out of my back, leaving me white-faced and unable to move. Yet even where most authors begin to "wind down the clock" McMahon pulls us mercilessly forward. Finding the truth of the book becomes as important as finding out out the secret contained in the diary of Sara Harrison Shea, the central character whose Aunt (referred to by many as "La Sorciere") practices witchcraft that is known all over the area for its ability to cure and ease pain. But she also can practice the darkest witchcraft of all, and the secret to this spell is one that many lose their lives to protect, and some, to destroy.

I write this review after having turned the final page only a few minutes ago (it's 4 am now). The wind is humming its melancholy song as it rides over the corners of the house, the pines are swaying in that way that almost always presages a power outage, and I'm the only one awake. Well, there was that one moment when I shrieked so loudly my husband startled out of a deep slumber ready to call 911, but all is quiet now. I wonder, though, if I will ever be able to hear the sound of the cats scraping the closet door, or the racoons kicking up the leaves on the patio, without thinking about whether "a sleeper" has come to call.

The best literature is the kind that you find yourself forced to live with, perhaps even live "through", well after you've finished the book. This is especially true of the most haunting examples of Ms.. McMahon's chosen genre -- examples are too numerous to discuss here. What's important to note, however, is that McMahon is not the latest in a series. She has blazed her own trail, deftly handling past and present in such a way that our suspense is constantly on the upswing, almost to the last page. Yet she is sensitive to the frustration that builds with suspense, so she leads us fearful and trembling readers to the next clue, the next revelation, just at the right moment to keep us keen for the ending. And oh, what an ending!

I can't help but give this book my highest recommendation. I wouldn't dare do less. Who knows what other witchcraft McMahon has up her sleeves. Hee-hee. I can't wait to find out.
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on March 25, 2014
I've never read a novel that legitimately creeped me out, but this one actually did give me nightmares. I don't scare easily, but McMahon's descriptions and suspenseful cliffhangers are addictive and I couldn't tear myself away. I'm trying to read another one, "Don't Breathe a Word", but my boyfriend's out of town and I refuse to read this then sleep alone afterward.
The ONE turnoff I have about her writing is that when any of her characters become the bad guy, even momentarily, they all adopt that same condescending comic-book-villain tone, for example: "Let's see what happens if we _____, shall we? Why don't we ____? Oh, look what we found, [ironic use of pet name]..." It's like they just become cliche super villains. But this is a minor offense, and I loved this novel nonetheless, and I will be anxiously reading the rest of hers.
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on April 26, 2017
I enjoyed this one, I found The Winter People to be an easy and fast read for me. I enjoyed the creepiness of the story. It has been a while since I read any horror type books and I did enjoy it. I found the book more plot driven than character not that it is a bad thing just different from the books I have been reading over last few months. I would say this is 3.5 to 3.75 rating for me. I certainly will be reading more of this authors books.
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on October 25, 2016
I went into this with an open mind... I was in one of those can't find anything to read moods. I searched my library for one of the many books I've bought but then didn't read and I'm sooooo glad I did!!! This was such a good book. It kept me guessing the entire time. It moves around from before to present day which took me a while to follow but once I got it it was great..Each chapter is a different character's story and I love that type of book!! The closer it got to the end the closer I got to the edge of my seat!! (which I'm pretty sure was the authors plan!!!). Jennifer McMahon wrapped it all up nice and neat!! It was a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone that loves a good who-done-it/Thriller/Ghost story!!!!
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on January 15, 2017
If not for the fact that it was on the list for a challenge I'm doing, I would never have selected s horror story. However, the story was well crafted and well written. The shifts between the diary written in 1908 and the modern story were well handled, and the characters seem well fleshed out and believable. And while I find horror stories unsettling, this did leave me with food for thought. Recommended for lovers of this genre.
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