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The Winter People

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  15,451 ratings  ·  2,573 reviews
The New York Times bestselling 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 1
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Hardcover, 317 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Doubleday (first published 2014)
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Anna I really like this one.

Even though the plot is formulaic, there's a universal theme that has me under a hypnotic hold. The supernatural and ghost…more
I really like this one.

Even though the plot is formulaic, there's a universal theme that has me under a hypnotic hold. The supernatural and ghost aspect to this story is gripping, but the magnetic pull is the inconsolable grief and deep sorrow of the protagonist who will do anything to "be" with her daughter.

The author is a master at plot pacing. Her ninja-like somersaults from one POV to another is remarkable. She does this so well, that it's like watching a well-edited movie that fades in and out of scenes. (less)
Martine Taylor older YA - 'The Ghost Belonged to Me' by Richard Peck (lighter though), and the short story 'The Monkey's Paw' come to mind. …moreolder YA - 'The Ghost Belonged to Me' by Richard Peck (lighter though), and the short story 'The Monkey's Paw' come to mind. (less)
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Historical Fiction 2014
66th out of 371 books — 2,242 voters
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Community Reviews

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Delee

For me the difference between a 4-star book and a 5-star book is usually the ending- and Jennifer McMahon's THE WINTER PEOPLE lost a star in the final pages...but a 4-star read is nothing to complain about. This was a spooooooky, creepy tale that had me flipping the pages regardless of a weeeeeee bit of disappointment with its conclusion.

 photo winteruse7_zpsrxmfpfte.jpg

January 29, 1908 West Hall, Vermont:

The Secret Diary of Sara Harrison Shea- The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old. I recognized her at once- He
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Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Seriously people..these characters need to read more Stephen King. If they had read "Pet Sematary" they would have known that you just don't mess around trying to bring back the dead.


Granted, Mr. King wasn't around writing in the 1800's that some parts of this book took place.
I liked the older bits of the story more than the present day setting. One reason is because Ruthie really did not come across as realistic to me. I mean damn-a 19 year old girl with a curfew? Several things she did and e
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Patrice Hoffman
Every once in a while you're just in the mood for a good ghost story. A story that involves a small town desperately trying to keep its secrets, myths, and folklore hidden. These type of stories are always set in remote areas where they breed new life with every passing generation. These myths become fantastical whereas aspects of the truth are distorted to make an even more engrossing tale of why there are "sleepers" roaming the forrests.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon is gripping novel a
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Ami
I'm torn about rating this book. I absolutely blew through it--from start to finish in just about a day--both because the narrative is propulsive but also because I wanted to know what was going to happen.

The book is very wonderfully a small-town ghost story, told from multiple points of view from two different eras. You know what sort of monsters you're dealing with almost immediately: "sleepers," or people who have been recalled from the dead by people who miss them. If you are drawing parall
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☔Diane S.
Beautiful cover, enticing title especially with the winter we are having. Hooked me from the very beginning, two young girls, Ruth and Fern, wonderful inquisitive characters, really wanted to find out what happened. Built of suspense, a little creepiness, exactly what is going on in this town and where has their mother gone? What about the dreams Ruth keeps having, what are they supposed to mean? Really wanted to know, kept reading and then plunk. Even in a book about the impossible, or so I hop ...more
Lisa
This is going to be so hard for me to rate. I was really engrossed for much of the story and I was sure I had a solid four-star book in my hands. There were even some five-star worthy scenes. But then it started dipping dangerously into that two-star area... For the most part it was a good, solid, read, but there were just some things I didn't like. At times I wished that the author had gone a different direction and there were two characters in particular that didn't ring true to me when all wa ...more
Tayari Jones
In my opinion, this is Jennifer McMahon's best novel yet. I read the entire thing on an overseas flight. I didn't even watch the free movies, preferring to read.

I was really drawn into the plot-- both the current day story of a mother who vanishes one day; and the story in the past where a grieving mother brings her dead child back to life. I was impressed with the way the two stories came together at the end.

For me, this story has just the right amount of creepiness. It wasn't so gory that I w
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MaryannC.Book Fiend
A totally awesome and creepy book! My book light bit the dust one night and I read some of this by small flashlight and let me tell you it gave me the heebie-jeebies. I am not usually a horror fan, but this was pretty damn good!
Britany
Apr 08, 2015 Britany rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: gr
A small Vermont town, rooted in legends that will make the small hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge. A diary that is uncovered and a secret that is finally released all culminate in the ending of this novel.

Flipping back and worth between 1908 and present day introduces us to all the main players and the different story lines that eventually all converge together. In 1908, legend has it that Sara Harrison Shea was brutally murdered and still haunts the town to present day. Sara's diary
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Zoeytron
Deep in the Vermont woods in West Hall, one can find the Devil's Hand, a conglomeration of rocks that resemble the fingers on a very large hand. Nearby, there is an orchard that produces bitter malformed fruit. In West Hall, there are a lot of ghost stories and legends, albeit with very few solid facts to back up the frightening tales of children gone missing.

This is a fine ghost story, deftly weaving mysterious happenings between 1908 and present day. With a focus on the power the dead have ov
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Carol
This deliciously scary tale of conjuring up the dead is the perfect book for a stormy, cold winter's night. If you happen to live in New England your double charmed.

That being said there's more here than meets the eye. Jennifer McMahon takes an age old question and puts her own spin on it in The Winter People. If one of your loved ones died what would you do to bring them back to you, even if only for a short time? Think of the possibilities of how this might help your grieving. However, also c
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PfromJ
Silly me. I believed all the hype and was expecting a real chiller of a ghost story. What I got was an inane tale rife with clueless characters. Knuckleheads who opt to take a 5-hour drive to check out a completely iffy lead instead of doing a simple Google search. Who lack all common sense (Uh oh, these papers need to be destroyed or they could alter the fate of all mankind. Let’s keep them in one piece and toss them into this old dry well.) Stephen King already wrote the definitive piece on th ...more
Maciek
West Hall, a small town somewhere in Vermont, is plagued by mysterious disappearances; the most strange of all being the one of Sarah Harrison Shea, who was later found dead in a field behind her house - just one month after the tragic death of her young daughter, Gertie. Their mystery laid dormant and unresolved for more than a hundred years - until two sisters, Ruth and Fawn, move into Sarah's old house and find her old, hidden diary under the floorboards. Fascinated by its contents, Ruth beco ...more
Laura
I loved the spookiness, the haunting plot and the intensity of this ghost story that jumps between different time periods. I thought it was 5 star from the beginning but I was so nervous that the author could not deliver a 5 ending. I was wrong, this is a solid story from beginning to end. The author wrapped up all my questions and I loved how it all came together. This book delivered all the attributes I like in a ghost story.
Carol
A super-creepy ghost story full of mystery and suspense. Definitely a page-turner I would recommend if (view spoiler)
Paul Pessolano
“The Winter People” by Jennifer McMahon, published by Doubleday.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – February 11, 2014

A must read, and one that will keep you reading well into the night, but only if you keep the lights on.

The entire story revolves around the diary of Sara Harrison Shea. Sara loved her Auntie, a woman that was scorned by the town except when they needed a remedy for whatever ailed them. Auntie left a secret message for Sara that she could only open, “when the time was
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Connie
Finished, review to come.

This is the first time reading McMahon and I was ready for a "do not read late at night" spooky book, one that would make me jumpy and listening carefully to every little nighttime sound. It did not quite fulfill that.

The story revolves around the "myth" of there being sleepers out there. People who have died and have not passed over yet. What makes them stay, how do they complete their journey? Would you bring someone back to you?

I has some trouble at the beginning o
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Nicole~
There are doorways, gates, between this world and the world of spirits through which the dead can return. Not just as spirits, but as living, breathing beings-- Sleepers.

The Winter People is a preternatural, gothic classic; a feral, feverishly suspenseful tale of those who exist outside the known world, on the fringe --
The story of a little girl named Gertie who died.
Whose mother loved her too much to let her go.
So she brought her back.
The world she came back to wasn't the same.
She wasn't th
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Kimberly
This novel was incredibly rich in atmosphere, making it very easy for a reader to become rapidly attached to the world it was presenting. The book chronicled two separate time periods: the present, where multiple story lines are linked to the events happening to the current tenants of the old Harrison-Shea home; and of the time frame leading up to the mysterious death and legacy of Sara Harrison Shea.

The spectacular attention to details honestly made me feel as if I was in the old farmhouse with
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Dianne
This is a really well-done ghost story - not scary, just suspenseful and hard to put down. Isn't that what you want in a good ghost story? I was totally engrossed in it and, for the most part, it delivered in the end. Recommend.
Debbie "DJ" Wilson
I was in the mood for a good thriller, and the paranormal aspect of this book enticed me. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. Two girls wake up one morning to find no trace of their mother. Where has she gone? I found myself rapidly turning pages as my questions became entangled with the myths of their small Vermont town. Turns out others have gone missing, and there is talk of an old diary that gives directions to bring back the dead for seven days, providing...

Something happened about half
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Carolyn
This was an enjoyable read although it took a while to build the suspense and it was only towards the end of the book that it became spooky or scary as the plots all came together. The story is told over two time periods, 1908 and the current time. In 1908, Sara and Martin Henderson Shea live in an isolated cottage near the village of West Hall, Vermont near an eerie natural stone structure called the Devil's Fingers which is blamed for strange sightings and disappearances' including those of re ...more
Marian
WOW!Now this,was great story telling,good writing,building tension slowly,very atmospheric..
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
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☮Karen
When I decided to read this book (on audio) I don’t think I really grasped what it was about exactly or just didn’t pay attention to the summary. I was expecting historical fiction and got paranormal – my bad, not the author’s! It wasn’t a bad story, though, considering my misunderstanding. If you’re at all interested in ghosts or communicating with your dead relatives, you may enjoy this all the more. For me, it was enjoyable enough to stick with it and give it 3 stars. I thought the ending lef ...more
Patricia
4.5 stars!
I really enjoyed this book.
Set in 1908 and then present day, it contains elements of magic and horror.
In 1908 Sara Harrison Shea is taught about "sleepers" (those who have been raised from the dead) by her magical Auntie. many years later, Sara is devastated by the death of her own daughter.
In the present day, Alice and her two daughters are living in Sara's old farmhouse, when one day Alice just vanishes, leaving her daughters searching for clues and trying to find her.

As the two stor
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Jessica Woodbury
I have this thing with Jennifer McMahon books. I read them in a fever and then end them really unsatisfied. She builds suspense so well but I've never enjoyed her endings. Happily, THE WINTER PEOPLE is the first of her books I enjoyed from beginning to end.

It has more than a hint of the supernatural, there's multiple characters and time periods, there's some very creepy bits that will burrow their way into your brain. A quick read, great for the plane or beach.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
"Let's see if we can bring back the dead!"



Oh my. This was a good story, it had potential to be OUTSTANDING, but the past and present bits just didn't jive together. I liked the past parts the best. So ladies... was it a good idea to dream this up?

Bandit
Being a fan of the author, I had high expectations for this book and it lived up to them. completely. McMahon has already got the literary thriller thing down pretty well, just read Dismantled and see, and now with this book she has ventured into a supernatural territory. Very confidently so, her creations on both sides of the veil remaining three dimensional, sympathetic and very human at heart. Genuine love by definition is haunting, its meant to endure, to not let go. And taken to the next le ...more
Michelle (tinyturtle88)
This book...this book.

Jennifer Mcmahon did an incredible job of mixing creepy, history, action, sentiment and sorrow. I couldn't read this book at night at home. Nuh uh. There was this sense of eeriness in this book that gets me every time. In the movies, there are scenes like this:

-Someone can sense that there is something on the other side of the door so they...slllloooowwwlly go look into the peephole......ghah!! Don't do that!

-Someone is undressing and getting ready for bed when they sense s
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Bookworm Bitches : December 2014: The Winter People 17 117 Apr 20, 2015 09:53PM  
A Million More Pages: The Winter People: Jan 1 8 25 Feb 11, 2015 09:51PM  
Jacket (spoilers) 2 73 Dec 16, 2014 06:26PM  
  • Snowblind
  • Silence for the Dead
  • Help for the Haunted
  • The Vanishing
  • House of Echoes
  • The Deepest Secret
  • Mercy Snow
  • Starter House: A Novel
  • In the Blood
  • The Quick
  • A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel
  • Bliss House: A Novel
  • This House is Haunted
  • The Girl in the Photograph
  • Bird Box
  • Mind of Winter
  • The Deep
  • The Lesser Dead
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I'm the author of Promise Not to Tell, Island of Lost Girls, Dismantled, Don't Breathe a Word, and The One I Left Behind. My next novel, The Winter People will be released February 11, 2014. I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
More about Jennifer McMahon...
Promise Not to Tell Don't Breathe a Word The One I Left Behind Island of Lost Girls Dismantled

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