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The Winter People

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  39,412 ratings  ·  5,701 reviews
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 ha
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Hardcover, 317 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Doubleday (first published 2014)
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Anna B 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)
Arwen Mellor No, only in winter when you can feel the cold and snow surrounding you in your safe warm home, an uneasy embrace of security against the creeping…moreNo, only in winter when you can feel the cold and snow surrounding you in your safe warm home, an uneasy embrace of security against the creeping horror that may lie without.

Of course it can be read any time.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  39,412 ratings  ·  5,701 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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Melissa
This is the quintessential Halloween read. It checks all of the required boxes - spooky, atmospheric, dark, eerie and full of old legends.

West Hall, Vermont is a little town with big history. There's no doubt in my mind, I would have hightailed it out of there; forget about uncovering the truth. I've watched way too many horror movies to be nosing around the woods or some creepy town looking for answers.

There’s a local legend surrounding a rock formation, a desolate farmhouse and a woman that w
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Shelby *trains 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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Debra
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
4.5 stars

West Hall, Vermont is a town where people go missing without explanation. This remote small town has it secrets and wants to keep it that way. The most mysterious secret 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. Skip to the present day where 19 year old Ruthie returns home to find her Mother, Alice, missing. Ruthie, her Mother and her Younger sister, Fawn, have been living in the
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Amalia Gavea
"Sometimes they're angry. They hate being stuck."

This was one of my most anticipated scheduled reads for the year. It felt appropriate for the beginning of the winter, since November calls for stories with supernatural twists. The title and the front cover set the scenery. This proved to be a story rich in atmosphere, local lore and with an engaging plot line. And it was also an example of how fast can a certain 5-stars read become a 3 within 120 pages...In my opinion...

The story follows two d
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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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Mandy
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Talk about CREEP FACTOR. This book was super spooky. Had a hard time putting it down. Highly recommend!
Julie
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon is a 2014 Doubleday publication.

It’s that time of year when I find myself in the mood for a creepy tale of horror. Normally, I pull out an old favorite, like Peter Straub’s ‘Ghost Story’ or perhaps something by Poe, but this year I went in search of something new, or at least new to me.

This book grabbed my attention because it did not appear to fit into the typical ‘slasher’ style horror trope, and seemed to promise me a chilling, atmospheric tale that did
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Norma * Traveling Sister
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 shivering stars! Well that was one heck of a spooky good read!

Why I wanted to read this one……I have read quite a few JENNIFER MCMAHON novels and although it has been a little while since I have read one I do remember really enjoying them so when I found this novel while perusing Overdrive I quickly borrowed it. What initially attracted me to this book was that beautiful cover and I found the title very intriguing as well which definitely enticed me to pick this one up!

Thoughts & what it's
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Ami
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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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Lisa
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddy-reads
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
Katie
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 - One aspect of the ending was a tiny letdown, but overall I ADORED this. So unique and unsettling. I'll have a spoiler free video review up next week :)
megs_bookrack
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1908: Sara Harrison Shea's young daughter has died under tragic circumstances. Wracked with grief, seemingly unable to move forward, what would Sara do to bring her child back to her?

Present Day: Ruthie's mom has gone missing. One night while Ruthie was out, it seems her mother simply walked out of their house and into the surrounding woods. With no note and no signs of a struggle, Ruthie is forced to care for her odd, little sister whilst investigating what happened to their mother.



What Ruthie
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Diane S ☔
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
West Hall, Vermont 1908. Sara Harrison Shea is found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter. She has been acted weirdly since then and her death is horrifying.

In the present day is nineteen-year-old Ruthie living in Sara's old farmhouse with her mother Alice and her younger sister. They have always lived a very simple life, farming what they need staying away from the modern world as much as possible. When Alice comes home late one night can she se
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Beverly
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melki
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Tell me, Auntie, please," I begged, "can the dead come back?"

I had a snow day off from work a few weeks ago, and I spent the entire day reading this novel. It's one of those books that had me completely mesmerized at the time, but now that many days have past, I keep wondering . . . was it really that good, or was the wintry, chilling atmosphere helped along by the fact that there were inches of white stuff piling up against my door as I read?

It was when she was on her way back out of the clear
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“There are worse things than death. Far worse.”

I decided to check out The Winter People last week when it was freeeeeeeeeezing outside. Of course, by the time I got around to reading it the temps were more like Spring because why have one season when you can have them all in the same week?

The story here is set in West Hall, Vermont – or, more specifically, a location known as “Devil’s Hand” – apparently named as such due to a rock fo
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Zoeytron
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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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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!
Tayari Jones
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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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ABookwormWithWine
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

Note: this review was changed from 2016.

This novel was my first time reading Jennifer McMahon and the book that started it all. I originally gave this a 4 star review but have modified it to 5 on account of the fact that I haven’t stopped thinking about it even now, 2 years later, and recommending it to everyone.

This book was freaky AF and I don’t recommend reading it in the dark.... and especially not alone in the dark. I loved THE WINTER PEOPLE and if you like books that have a supe
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Bam
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is an eerie ghost story that deftly weaves together past and present. It begins with the secret diary of Sara Harrison Shea of West Hall, Vermont, written in the winter of 1908, just before she was brutally murdered.
Sara tells of her life, the man she married, the babies they lost before little Gertie was born. She is understandably quite attached to Gertie, who is a different sort of child. One morning she tells her mother about a dream she had where she rode on the back of a blue dog
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PfromJ
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointing
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
Carol
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghosts, read-2014, horror
A super-creepy ghost story full of mystery and suspense. Definitely a page-turner I would recommend if (view spoiler)
Britany
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookriot
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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Fareya
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mysterious, scary, full of strange old legends and set in rural Vermont, The Winter People has all the makings of a classic ghost story. I don't usually read books in the horror genre, though I do enjoy a good thriller, sans the bloody gory details. With this, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but I was pleasantly surprised. Jennifer McMahon has spun up an intriguing and unputdownable story that is both eerie and emotional.

“Q: Bury deep,
Pile on stones,
Yet I will Dig up the bones.
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Stepheny


When I read The Night Sister it is fair to say I was blown away. I thought McMahon had something really special. An aptitude for suspense and storytelling like I have not yet seen.

I was so excited about reading her work I moved on shortly thereafter and picked up the audio CD of The Winter People. Delee’s review had already sparked my curiously of this book but reading the Night Sister bumped my curiosity to a longing.

The Winter People was not as good as the Night Sister in my opinion. But i
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Debbie "DJ"
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
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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3,618 followers
I'm the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
“If snow melts down to water, does it still remember being snow?” 41 likes
“Madness is always a wonderful excuse, don’t you think? For doing terrible things to other people.” 28 likes
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