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The Uninvited

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Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

343 pages, Paperback

First published August 11, 2015

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About the author

Cat Winters

11 books1,543 followers
Cat Winters is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of five novels for teens: IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, ODD & TRUE, and THE RAVEN'S TALE. She has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her young adult novels have appeared on Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist best-of-the-year lists, as well as numerous state lists. She is also the author of two novels for adults, THE UNINVITED and YESTERNIGHT, and she contributed to the young adult horror anthology SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS. Her debut picture book, CUT!: HOW LOTTE REINIGER AND A PAIR OF SCISSORS REVOLUTIONIZED ANIMATION, written as C.E. Winters, will release from Greenwillow Books in Winter 2023.

Winters lives in Oregon. Visit her online at www.catwinters.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 644 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
August 3, 2015
Mama paled. "Are you saying that you and Peter killed a man tonight?"
"No." Father shook his head. "That wasn't a man. He was a German."

Yet another instance where I pick up a Cat Winters novel and the real world just melts away.

Firstly, you should know that this isn't supposed to be a YA book, unlike Winters' other marvelous works - In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Cure for Dreaming - but I do think that all her books have a lot of crossover appeal. The romance is more mature, more sexual, and the characters themselves are in their mid-to-late twenties, but that's where the differences end.

Winters is a master at blending horrifying historical fact with beautifully eerie supernatural elements. This is her second story set in 1918 America, a time when America's young men were sent to their deaths in Europe, and the home front was fighting an entirely different war against the Spanish influenza pandemic. Hospitals were full, untrained young women were performing nurse duties, and the scent of death constantly filled the air.

But The Uninvited is also different from Winters' In the Shadow of Blackbirds because it tells another story - a dark underside to American life in 1918. In 1918, being "American" was of utmost importance and the American Protective League roamed the streets looking for German sympathizers. German immigrants were often murdered and the police didn't care enough to investigate the crimes. It was a time of panic, suspicion and xenophobia.
“The world’s about to end. I can feel it in the marrow of my bones."

When Ivy Rowan's father and brother murder a German man, she leaves home and gets taken in by an old acquaintance. Unable to cope with the shame she feels on behalf of her family, she approaches the dead man's brother - Daniel - in an attempt to alleviate her guilt and offer some solace.

From this, their relationship develops. What starts as a means of seeking comfort on both their parts becomes something more. But both Ivy and Daniel must constantly keep looking over their shoulder. The APL is on the warpath and they certainly wouldn't take kindly to a romance between a German man and an American woman.

It's a sensual, frightening and eye-opening book. The author once again crafts wonderful female characters and develops complex and humourous relationships between them. It's so strange how the book can be at once a quiet, introspective read and a fast-paced, supernatural adventure through the horrors of history.

I impatiently wait for her next book, adult, YA or otherwise.

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Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 11 books7,641 followers
April 15, 2018
If I could sum up this book in two words, those words would be haunting and atmospheric.

Winters captures a dark time in American history and humanizes every character. This book is colored in shades of grey and shadowed in darker tones of charcoal and onyx. Not a light read, but one I cannot recommend enough for anyone looking to take a brief break from their usual, favorite genres and read something as unique as it is compelling.

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Profile Image for TL .
1,880 reviews53 followers
April 2, 2018
Reread via audiobook:) Like sinking into a warm bath or visiting an old friend *happy sigh*

Narrator did a wonderful job bringing the characters and atmosphere to life. As well as Daniel's accent:) I was impressed with the way she did all the male voices really.

Still highly recommend!

Original review:

Gorgeous, haunting, beautiful.. I could go on;-)

Sucked in from the first page, we meet Ivy Rowan as she is recovering form the flu epidemic of 1918.. rising out of her sickbed to some troubling news.

Mama paled. "Are you saying that you and Peter killed a man tonight?"
"No." Father shook his head. "That wasn't a man. He was a German."

The world just faded away as I read this, every time I put it down for "real life" (Real life, we need to have a talk here) I couldn't stop thinking about these people. I read as fast I could without missing anything.

The ability of the Rowan women was fascinating and I loved how it was an integral part of the story.

I admit I didn't know the full history of how the german people in america were treated during this time period... I knew some facts but not the whole story *hides* I don't blame people for being scared during the war but their actions and what they did....

Ivy and Daniel's romance was sensual, beautiful.

"We were music. We were jazz.

We were alive."
"Out there"--he nodded toward the window. "is chaos. In here,it's paradise. We found paradise, Liebling. But you have to keep coming back to get it."

You can feel the weight of what happened and Daniel's secrets between them but it never overwhelms what they have. It's all there, waiting for the right time to come to the surface. Daniel is determined to keep all that in the dark, to protect Ivy but secrets have a way of coming to the surface and these were no different.

When the truth does come out It shakes Ivy but she rallies herself after coming to terms with it. She helps a few more along the way as well.

I loved that about her, she's stronger than she realizes and she doesn't back down once her course is set, so to speak.

All of the side characters were fleshed out as well and had interesting personalities, even though I wanted to smack Lucas a few times. The Red Cross gals and May were my favorites though, don't tell the others ;-)

After the big reveal, the story doesn't suffer... the writing is still beautiful and parts of the story made me smile.

Miss Winters descriptions *melts*:

"The world outside smelled of rain. Beneath the streetlamps the sidewalks glistened with the dampness of a recent drizzle, and the trees dipped and made the world feel a tad cleaner.
"The young family resided on the northern edge of the Pettyjohns' farm, near Minter lake,in a white colonial-style house with coal-black shutters framing every window. A cluster of thick, gnarled oak trees with half-bare limbs hung over the roof and scratched at the brick chimney. A swing made from a tractor tire still hung still as stone from one of the thickest branches, above piles of pumpkin-colored leaves."

The ending was wonderful and was a fitting way to end this tale methinks... I wanted to walk in there with them so I wouldn't have to leave these beautiful characters.

There are books that leave you with a feeling of making new friends and being sad to let them go even though you know you'll be visiting them again in the future... that you fall in love with everything about them and the world they inhabit.

Needless to say, this was such a book for me <3

Cat Winters, well done once again hun, I applaud you :). Will definitely be getting the only one of yours I don't have as quickly as possible. Eagerly awaiting whatever you choose to write next *waves*

Ally's lovely review here

Emily's review here

Profile Image for ♛Tash.
223 reviews212 followers
November 26, 2015
* Review has minor spoilers *

1918, the last year of the first world war and the first of the Influenza/Spanish flu pandemic that infected hundreds of millions and killed millions. It was a killer of a year and this is when The Uninvited happens.

Music teacher Ivy Rowan sees dead people,The Uninvited as she calls them. Seeing The Uninvited heralds the death of someone significant to Ivy's life. After being struck down by the flu for days, Ivy wakes up to a commotion in their home, her father and youngest brother have killed a young German business owner to avenge the death of Ivy's oldest brother, Billy, in the war. Unable to stomach what her family had done, Ivy packs up and leave for town. There , she learns that the world at war had been upended further by the flu pandemic. Everyone's angry and afraid of being struck and of losing loved ones, they want somebody to blame, so they take all the rage and the fear out on the German immigrants.

“There is a pain in me. A knife blade”—I balled my hand against my stomach—“wedged in my gut. I want to be rid of it. I want to finally live.”

The world has gone cray and all Ivy wants to do is to atone for the sins of her family, so she seeks out Daniel Schendel, the brother of the murdered man. She is understandably met with hostility, but after a while, with persistence and some compromise, Ivy and Daniel form a shaky and forbidden relationship built on desperation for some respite from loneliness and pretense of hope, amid the death and destruction.

"The head makes war, but the heart makes peace. And thankfully, the heart ends up ruling more than not."

I've been saying this for months now, my tolerance for romance is very low, so I expected to despise Daniel's and Ivy's insta-lust and inevitable romance, but I do not. Yes, you read that right. I felt the reluctance, the anger, the guilt, the denial and the despair every time they climbed up the stairs to Daniel's apartment, but alone together in that pocket of paradise, everything else fades away. I guess that why the romance in this book worked for me, it's distilled and, it seemed to me, came with an expiration date, what with the deadly flu and anti-German sentiments at their doorsteps.

At the same time, Ivy is drawn to the new make-shift jazz club that grows bigger in attendance with each passing night. She also finds purpose anew when she signs up as a driver for Red Cross, transporting the sick and the dying to hospitals and recovery facilities.

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all..."

Ivy is finally living the life she'd always wanted, but then The Uninvited starts showing up again, and Ivy is desperate to find out who she will lose this time.

This is the first of the many Cat Winters books I will be reading. I am not a fan of historical fiction, but Cat Winters may have converted me to one. She shows us historical events in micro without diluting the horror and the despair, and deftly weaves supernatural elements to it. Her characters are also well fleshed out but I must point out her brilliance in writing strong, distinguishable female characters in context with the time period, who have positive and mature relationships with each other.

As great as this book turned out to be, I can't help but feel misled by the blurb. I somehow expected the novel to focus on Ivy’s life-long gift. I kept waiting for her to use her gift but it didn't happen and at some point set the book aside because it dragged on for a bit, thus the 4 stars instead of 5. I persisted because I am the captain of the Ivy-Daniel ship, so naturally I wanted to find out where my ship is headed to, and boy did I found out. I was rewarded for my persistence.

If you got to this part of my rambling, kudos to you for your patience, and if you plan to read The Uninvited, I recommend that you completely divest yourself of any expectations, especially if you've read the blurb. My utmost recommendation though is to...

Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews605 followers
December 2, 2015

It’s 1918. World War I is on the brink of finishing, but that doesn’t mean the situation is good or desirable at all. There is an atmosphere filled with hatred towards the Germans in the U.S., and there is the influenza to deal with too, so you see, there’s nothing desirable about it.

The women in Ivy Rowan’s family have the “ability” of seeing ghosts of dead people. The last ghost she saw was like a premonition of her brother’s death – she saw the ghost and not long after, she was noticed her brother was killed – and now she keeps on seeing more of them. Thus, she leaves town and settles in another place, where she meets Daniel Schendel, a German whose brother was killed by Ivy’s brother and father.

I admit at first I didn’t like Ivy’s and Daniel’s relatioship – it felt like insta-love for me. The more I read, though, the more I actually liked them together. Because they were realistic. Because they had real problems that prevented them of being happy together. Because Daniel was looked like an animal, and Ivy as a whore for spending time with a German.

This brings me to my next point, that is, the atmosphere. You can feel all the hatred and xenophobia floating there. You can see how hard life was for the people being despised just because of their origins. And not only that – it was also the time of the influenza, so it reeked of death and loss as well.

The book might seem very quiet, uneventful and calm, but at the same time, it is very violent and full of tension. For example, Daniel is always worried for his life, and Ivy is too worried for him and herself. There is also the sadness that comes with seeing all the people die not only because of the war but also because of the flu.

I have to praise the writing as well, because it got me completely sucked in from page one, and this surprised me a lot, since I am not the one who enjoys romance in a daily basis. The writing fits perfectly the setting: It is apparently calm, but it is full of sadness, and it was beautiful.

The Uninvited is a novel I really recommend, but don’t go thinking it’s going to be a paranormal mystery, because it’s not. Nonetheless, I thought it was very good. If you’re not patient with romance (as I am), I say try to forget about it. I promise it will be worth it. Cat Winters has talent and I will certainly try more of her books.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,019 reviews3,436 followers
October 28, 2016
The head makes war, but the heart makes peace and, thankfully, the heart ends up ruling more than not.

This tale is utterly haunting - not in the way I expected when deciding to read this book, but still in a great way. I thought this would be a creepy ghost story before the backdrop of WWI.
Instead I got a story about a small town in Illinois during WWI that was struck by Influenza and the monstrosities humans do to one another. Creepy in its own way.
It wasn't until the 85% mark that the supernatural element really dominated. In retrospect, however, that wasn't bad. It might not have been the horror story I wanted but the description of that small town, the sickness, the paranoia turning neighbour against neighbour, the discrimination that was almost too silly if it wasn't for the internment camps and personal tragedies, ...
The tragic events afflicting immigrants reminded me of my relatives fleeing to the US before WWI and I'm still wondering if they had to endure such things as well (can't ask them anymore because they are dead).
I kind of saw that last part of the ghost story / reveal coming, but the execution was so beautiful, and the overall atmosphere so wonderfully haunting (it reminded me a bit of The Others, a horror movie with Nicole Kidman) that it didn't matter at all.

Definitely a strength of this book is the poetry (especially that of Emily Dickinson since I love her work as much as the protagonist) and references to classical music, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan and, of course, Jazz.
The only thing marring my enjoyment of this audio version was the horrible German accent of the narrator (funnily enough, the Polish parts were pronounced better) and some inaccurate German words.

What I positively loved and want to point out especially is that this was not a typical YA book with a girl and, eventually, a boy and sappy love scenes or relationship drama. In fact, the characters could be of any age and it wouldn't make a difference; the relationship between the two protagonists was quite unusual too. Everything about this story was delicate and tasteful and beautiful (mirrored by the way the story was read by Emily Woo Zeller). Strangely, although technically this is a story about loss and death, it is far more a story about how to live (and how important that is), about finding the light.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,920 followers
August 18, 2015

4.5 stars

After two literary successes for young adults, the amazing Cat Winters is back with The Uninvited, a breathtaking story about a 25-year-old girl fighting the heavy burden of her family’s sins. Winters takes us back to final days of World War I, right in the middle of the 1918 flu pandemic, and although it’s not her first foray into that very same time period, The Uninvited stands on its own two feet, beautiful and incomparable with anything she’s done before.

The psychology of war is a dreadful thing. The hate, the whispers, dehumanization, strengthened by very loud and convincing propaganda, combine to create an atmosphere of fear and turn regular people into mindless monsters. Winters’ understanding of this phenomenon, of the mass hysteria that is so easily created when people fear for their lives, is profound. Ivy’s father is one of those war-made monsters, and so is her 17-year-old brother. After they kill a German business owner in their small town, Ivy leaves home, ridden with guilt, to somehow make things right. For all her innocence, Ivy has a backbone of steel. Her moral compass is impeccable and her bravery is astounding. It takes a great person to swim out of that pool of hate and see things for what they are, and our Ivy manages beautifully. It’s not something that happens from one moment to the next, but the process itself is a thing to behold.

The unconventional romance is one of this book’s many strengths. Bonded by a terrible tragedy and more guilt than two people should ever carry, Ivy and Daniel find solace in each other, first physically, and then emotionally. It’s a long, painful road filled with surprises, but it’s one worth taking, even when you’re crying your eyes out.
While it doesn’t quite reach the literary heights of In the Shadow of Blackbirds (then again, I suspect nothing ever will), The Uninvited is a flawless story by one of my favorite authors in the world. The magic of Cat Winters is very much alive and it seems to be a gift that just keeps on giving.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,376 reviews930 followers
April 18, 2016
“Some spirits get stuck in the places where they died. […] Some struggle to complete a task they didn’t finish when they were alive. Others, they roam the earth, unsettled, restless, unsure what to do or where they belong. And then there are the lucky ones…”

In the midst of the final days of World War I, there is no peaceful end in sight in the town of Buchanan, Illinois. The hatred towards Germans continues to grow and the recent outbreak of Spanish influenza has many blaming the Germans for releasing the sickness. Most German residents have been ran out of town, but two brothers who own a furniture business still remain. One night, the violence escalates and one of the brothers ends up murdered.

“The world’s about to end. I can feel it in the marrow of my bones. I’m worried I’m about to miss out on a few things in life that shouldn’t be missed.”

Recovering from her own bout of influenza, Ivy sees the ghost of her grandmother only to discover a short while later that her father and brother have killed a young German business-owner. The women of the Rowan family are known for being able to see the ghosts of loved ones, but only when death is imminent. Ivy has remained at home, up until the age of twenty-five, in an attempt to shelter her brothers from their fathers violence. When her older brother Billy enlists and dies in battle, their fathers violence cannot be restrained. This recent act of violence on an innocent human being is enough to compel her to finally leave her childhood home and live her life. She takes up residence with a charismatic war widow by the name of May Dover and begins to drive an ambulance for the Red Cross. Her instincts keep telling her to seek out the surviving brother and do whatever she possibly can to free herself of the guilt her family has brought down upon her shoulders.

“Out there” – he nodded toward the window – “is chaos. In here, it’s paradise. We found paradise, Liebling. But you have to keep coming back to make it stay.”

When Ivy Rowan first approaches the furniture shop, she finds Daniel Schendel on his hands and knees scrubbing blood from the floorboards. His attempts to run Ivy off fall on deaf ears but instead their lonely souls find peace with one another. Together the two form the most frenetic of bonds, similar to the jazz music that flows through his bedroom window well into the nighttime. Within the walls of his apartment, they find freedom regardless of their heritage but when Ivy begins to see the ghost of her brother Billy, she begins to fear that the small life she’s built for herself is about to come crumbling down and she worries who around her is about to end up dead.

I could not have been more pleased with this book. Most definitely a new addition to my favorites shelf, The Uninvited is achingly lovely and possesses a most unexpected twist that is both harrowing yet hopeful. While the romance is a major factor in the story, it also touches on the more serious aspects of the time. The racism, the hatred, the narrow-mindedness, the deaths. It accurately portrays the difficulty in adapting to the times, living in a society that forces your hatred of a culture or constantly risking your own loyalties to be put into question. Her role as an ambulance driver makes Ivy a most memorable character and I loved this addition to her fascinating story. Truly a wonderful historical fiction tale with a most interesting dash of paranormal that will delight adult readers and Winters’ existing YA fans.

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews798 followers
December 19, 2018
The women in Ivy Rowan's family has always had the gift to see the dead. But the ghost of loved ones always heralds impending death. On an evening in October 1918, 25-year-old Ivy sees granny Letty just for a moment, but an hour later her father and brother killed a man. Ivy then decides to leave the farm and move to the city... 

The Uninvited is a book that took me completely by surprise. The cover and blurb made it out to be a much darker story than it was and I was in the beginning disappointed that it just seemed to be about Ivy breaking away from her old life, beginning a new life away from the farm and starting to see the brother of the man her father and brother had killed. Nothing bad with that if that's what you're after. It was just not that I wanted. I wanted ghosts and creepiness. I wanted to Ivy to see ghosts, but the only one she seemed to see now and then was Billy, her brother that died in the war. I did enjoy ivy's relationship with Daniel.

But then something happened. I quite enjoyed the story as it was thought that at least it was enjoyable for the moment when WHAM everything was turned on its head in a twist I hadn't seen coming and then a page or two later WHAM twist number two happened. The book went from good to freaking great in just a couple of pages. I mean the last 20% was brilliant. And the ending was perfect...

It's hard to rate this book since the book, for the most part, were good, but not great, that is until the last 20% when everything just went fantastic. But in the end, I gave it 4 stars and I'm looking forward to reading more from Cat Winter.

Thanks to William Morrow and Edelweiss for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Medini.
381 reviews58 followers
March 6, 2016

It is 1918, in Buchanan, Illinois.

The world is ravaged by a pandemic of the Spanish Influenza, which seems to be claiming those in the pink of their health: young men, women and children. The stench of death is thick in the air. Hospitals are crowded and overflowing with bleeding, puking, dying patients. Town halls and homes are being converted into refuges for the sick.

There’s also the war. Young men are forced to enlist in the army as soon as they turn eighteen. The American government, headed by the APL (American Protective League), is encouraging the common folk to take law into their own hands (“Super-patriotism”); mobs are lynching Germans, people are assaulting and killing Germans, yet the killers get acquitted. The APL reinforces the horrific xenophobia over and over again through endless propaganda. There’s the disposal of German names (Werner to Willow, Schmidt to Smith, Wilhelm to William , and so on) and the use of government detainment camps for German-Americans. It’s appalling .

‘If you celebrate Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, you are celebrating German culture. We will question anyone caught singing or playing enemy music. Influenza or no influenza, we are still fighting Prussian devilry twenty-four hours a day. Germans- not germs- remain our greatest adversary.’

Ivy Rowan, a twenty-five year old piano teacher, recently recovered from the influenza, has a gift curse. She can see the ‘Uninvited’, the ghosts of dead loved ones when the wall dividing the living and the dead opens a crack and when someone else is close to their death. She leaves her home after overhearing a shocking conversation between her parents.

“Are you saying that you and Peter killed a man tonight?”
“No.” Father shook his head. “That wasn’t a man. He was a German.”

Ivy takes up lodgings in the house of an old acquaintance, May Dover, a war widow and later starts volunteering with the Red Cross to transport sick patients to safe houses. To ease her feeling of guilt and heartache, she reaches out to Daniel, the brother of the German her father killed. After some trepidation initially (understandable), Ivy and Daniel form a strange sort of relationship.

My favorite part would have to be the ‘creepy’ atmosphere throughout; darkness, death, violence and bloodshed, punctuated by the welcome bursts of Jazz music, the heady alcohol intoxication and the reckless, passionate romance. Also, Cat Winters adds an air of authenticity to the environment by including fictional newspaper clippings.

I would have given this book 3 stars but for the ‘twist’. Being slightly familiar with Cat Winters’ writing (Emmeline in Slasher Girls & Monster Boys), I’d kept my eyes open for them and could guess the first one. . But before I could shout it out from the rooftops, there came a second twist which was so unexpected that my jaw literally dropped!

This is such a unique, tragic book with a well-researched historical outline, a true-to-life backdrop of war and sickness, an unlikely romance, loads of sorrow but still manages to wrap everything up with a HEA.

I really should check out Cat Winters’ other books soon!

I didn't know Jazz was this beautiful till I checked out the playlist on Cat Winters' website!
Profile Image for Gabriela.
138 reviews110 followers
March 27, 2018
*Review en español en mi blog: https://backstreetbooksblog.wordpress...


It's been a long time since a historical fiction book (or any book) caused me the feelings "The Uninvited" made me feel. With a beautiful history of World War I seen from the American side, Cat Winters created one of the best books I ever read. American nationalism, an epidemic of deadly flu and a "paranormal" touch make this story set during the year of 1918 a book worth reading.

I loved every single second of this book. It perfectly captures the atmosphere that was experienced in the United States during World War I. Nationalism is something that arises in its most radical way during a period of war, and in the USA the open rejection of the Germans was something that marked the lives of many immigrants from that country who were in America and who were not to blame.
"Are you saying that you and Peter killed a man tonight?"
"No," Father shook his head. "That was not a man. He was a German."

I enjoy reading books that do not portray Germans as the only bad guys in history. And this book shows that it was not only the people within Europe who suffered the consequences of the War by giving us a clear example of this, with German families that, although far from the conflict, flee and suffer rejection solely by their nationality.

The context of the story is complemented in a wonderful way with each of the secondary characters who fill it: nurses who risk their lives to run an ambulance looking for patients with the flu, widows who lost their husbands in the war, German families displaced by racism, young people to whom the war permanently changed.

Within this beautiful story a romance takes place and I swear ir captivated me completely. In the midst of so many bad things happening, the love between the main characters causes you to get involved in a more sentimental way into the story. It is not a romance that feels forced, it is not a cheesy romance and it doesn't feel out of place, it is one in which given the circumstances in which it occurs is strong, passionate and beautiful.

The ending ... just perfect. I can not say anything else without ruining the story and I could not forgive myself if I ruined this wonderful book for someone. All I will say is that it left me breathless, literally, without air. Highly recommended book!
Profile Image for Vishakha ~ ReadingSpren ~.
226 reviews185 followers
August 4, 2017
Thank you so much Saanchi for recommending this wonderful book. (her review)

The Uninvited is set in America during World War I when the infamous 1918 influenza pandemic hit the country. Its an era of jazz, fear, death, romance and xenophobia.

Mama paled. “Are you saying that you and Peter killed a man tonight?”
“No.” Father shook his head.
“That wasn’t a man. He was a German.”

Ivy is an all-American girl in her mid-twenties (considered too old for a girl to be unmarried during that time) who has just lost one of her brothers to war. Her father and the remaining brother have murdered a local German shopkeeper in anger and grief. Not able to digest such meaningless violence, Ivy decides its time to leave her parents' house and live life on her own.

Lot of things happen to her. She starts sharing room with a young widow. She starts helping two Red Cross nurses in driving around an ambulance to pick up Influenza victims. She starts falling in love with the murdered German's brother, Daniel. During a time, when even playing German music is considered an unpatriotic act, sharing a bed with one definitely makes her a target for the more aggressive patriots.

Her town is polluted with hatred, disease, death and repercussions of war. Her heart is gripped by guilt and fear. Her soul is revelling in jazz music and uninhibited love-making.

“Ach.” He reached out and tucked a stray strand of my hair behind my ear. “Du begehrst mich.”

"Ach. You desire Me."

The music, in fact, plays a very important role in this book. I suggest anyone reading this book, should do so while listening to the soundtracks mentioned in the book. Both Daniel and Ivy share a deep connection through their love of music.

Here are some YouTube links I found while reading, all of them mentioned by the characters:

Gun-Cotton Rag by Merle Von Hagen
SLIPPERY HANK by Earl Fuller's Famous Jazz Band
Jelly Rolls Blue by Ferd Morton
Tiger Rag by Original Dixieland Jas Band
Joe Turner Blues by Wilbur Sweatman
I'm Sorry I Made You Cry by Henry Burr
Last Night was the End of the World by Henry Burr

I have never listened to Jazz or Ragtime much, but after this book I have become aa fan of these genres. Its sensual, glamorous, romantic, soothing and haunting; just like this novel.

The fact that Ivy can see spirits of her deceased loved ones gives a beautiful horror undertone to the story. Reading this book was scary in both the normal and paranormal sense.

The research done is extensive and deep. I read about many of the historical occurrences in Wikipedia that are mentioned in the story and its amazing how Miss Winters has brought together reality and fiction. She truly brought 1918 Illinois to life and when I finished the last chapter I had to remind myself who I was and where I was. If this doesn't prove that Cat Winters is an amazing story-teller then I don't know what will.
Profile Image for Maria Hill AKA MH Books.
322 reviews129 followers
September 18, 2019
2.5 Stars rounded down because it had so much potential that was never reached.
I am so not with the crowd on this one!

There are some very good descriptions and it's an interesting period in history. In fact, it was an amazing period of history. Paranoia over Germans and foreigners during WWI, while the real killer, Spanish Flu, rips its way through the young and healthy population of a small American town. That should have been brilliant!

The narrative, however, is weak, the "romance" pathetic (and troublesome, very very troublesome initial sexual contact, not true to 1918 or the character). I saw the twist coming but that was not a problem. Actually, I liked the twist, I was hoping it would pick up a bit from there with some good speculative fiction. Again huge disappointment. The simple problem is the novel failed to allow me to Suspend my Disbelief. Avoiding spoilers (the fact there are Ghosts is in the blurb), there are physical realities about what Ghosts can and can’t do.

To add to the novel's problems I was listening to it on audio and the simple truth is that the narrator (Emily) should not be allowed anywhere near a book containing European accents. I eventually decided she was trying to imitate Arnold Schwarzenegger when she was doing the German accent. Arnold is Austrian and not German and doesn’t even have a typical Austrian accent. There is no inflection in how German's pronounce vowels. However, not all of the accent was the narrator's fault, some of it was the dialogue as written. One sentence of Irish Brogue had me saying words I should not be saying outloud on the bus. :)

Overall, not recommended for Europeans and definitely not on audio.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,009 reviews378 followers
July 16, 2015
Cat Winters is known for her beautifully detailed, creative, and imaginative worlds. Worlds that transport you back in time to another place and more often than not, to something other.

It is for all these reasons that I didn't hesitate to pick up The Uninvited.
I needed that small taste of the other she is so gifted at creating. I needed the beautiful world I knew she could paint and more than that, I needed something unique, original, and enchanting.

Winter's has an amazing ability to blend history with fiction and give us just a touch of the macabre along with a hint of romance that truly makes her novels stand out and shine.

I love this era. So much happens, good and bad and Winter's managed to show the best and worst of both sides. Prejudices, war, death, sickness, but also love, honor, and women really coming out into the world and taking charge.

I loved Ivy's role in the story. How she didn't stand by and let those around her take charge of her life. She didn't let them lead her around or bully her. She saw what she wanted and she went after it. She helped those that needed it, regardless of color, social standing, gender, or origin. She was strong, determined and I loved her character because of it.

The slight paranormal aspect that Winter's weaved into the storyline gave this just enough of that otherwordliness that I have come to crave from her writing and put enough spin and twist on the story that I truly, didn't see the end coming.

Winter's once again created an imaginative tale that despite it's slow start, had me turning the pages eager for more.
Profile Image for Elesia.
144 reviews219 followers
June 14, 2016
Every time I read a book by Cat Winters, I go into it thinking 'yes, I'm sooo ready for a nice historical during World War I!' and I always come out with an emotional kick to my feels. She writes historical so realistic and she holds nothing back, she doesn't glorify what the world was like in 1918 and I so love that.

This book had an amazing setting; America, 1918-racism, illness, jazz music. It's a time when young men are being sent to their deaths in war and everyone is also fighting against the epidemic of the Spanish Influenza. Death was everywhere.

"The world's about to end. I can feel it in the marrow of my bones."

When Ivy's father and brother murder a German man, Ivy flees and tries to rid herself of the guilt she feels by approaching his brother, Daniel. From there, a relationship develops between them, where they both connect through their own pain and through the jazz music that plays across the street.

The only thing is this book didn't have as much of a supernatural aspect as I was expecting. The synopsis leads you to believe the story is mostly about how Ivy can see dead spirits but that's really more in the background. The story is definitely more fixated on the war and the Spanish Influenza and how it impacted people but for me that wasn't a problem, although I wish her seeing spirits had been touched on a bit more!

This book was full of so many things. Cat Winter's writing is beautiful and I love the way she can describe the setting. It had me completely sucked in. This book was painfully eye opening and honest, but beautiful all at the same time. I will definitely be eagerly awaiting Cat Winters next books!

Check out my review on my blog!
Profile Image for Melissa Landers.
Author 16 books3,257 followers
September 22, 2015
This was SO, SO GOOD! Set during the first World War and the influenza outbreak of 1918, the novel follows Ivy, a small-town American girl who leaves home for the first time at age 25 after discovering her father and brother have murdered a local German man out of retaliation for her second brother's death during the war. Ivy has always been blessed/cursed with the ability to see the dead, who appear as harbingers to warn of impending tragedy; and with people dying in droves from war and influenza, she's receiving more and more uninvited visitors, leaving her wondering who she's going to lose next.

Yes, the tone is spooky, but at its core, this book is a heartwarming romance about Ivy and a German man named Daniel, who heal each other with compassion, friendship, and eventually love. (Oh, and sex. Lots and lots of sex.) :) I'm not going to reveal too many details, because this is the kind of book that MUST NOT BE SPOILED, so when you pick this up, resist the urge to peek at the ending. Take my word for it: the end is perfect! I couldn't have asked for a more fitting outcome for these characters.

Love, love, love this one! Go forth and grab it! With Halloween right around the corner, this would make an excellent October book club selection.
August 11, 2016

“The head makes war, but the heart makes peace. And, thankfully, the heart ends up ruling more than not.”

I've never encounter a character carrying such burden, guilt, the need to protect others as she sacrifices her wants. A young woman paying for her father's sins, hellbent on mending the rents of others wrongs. Ivy's shoulders are heavy as she carries the weight of the world. I liked Ivy and I felt a tremendus amount of empathy for her family situation and the predicament along with the role she felt the need to fill.

Goodness this story took me by surprise. It's powerful in demonstrating the complexities of relationships. You are in for a true reading adventure as Winters steers you in one direction and deliciously changes course unexpectedly.

The ending is a surprise while nonetheless brilliant. Your eyes are wide open as you experience a halting ugly time in history. Panic, death, fear, ignorance, all palpable. A time in history when influenza and uber patriotism was epidemic both causing innocent casualties. Extremely fast paced, the story will find you feverishly turning the pages with unrestrained enthusiasm. The twist creates one amazing read.

"It belonged to us, and nothing could take it away—even though those cruel years of war and disease seemed to have stolen everything else that once was ours."

Visit Raven Haired Girl for more reviews and giveaways
Profile Image for Terri.
703 reviews20 followers
August 8, 2015
Review also found at http://kristineandterri.blogspot.ca/2...

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher William Morrow via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review**

I don't normally peak ahead to any of the reviews as I like to enter in to a read with a completely open mind, however in the case of this book I did take a look once I completed it. I found this story to be a little bit all over the place and I needed to know what others thought. It seems for the most part that this story is getting glowing reviews and the majority do not feel the same as I.

I just had a hard time identifying with the characters. To me Ivy lacked personality and made decisions that really didn't make sense. In her day and time what she did with Daniel without a second thought just simply wouldn't happen. Her need to get out and help seemed sudden after he had been a recluse for so long. I don't know but she just did not make sense nor did I find her likable,

Sadly I feel like this is a story that took on too many topics at the same time and therefore lacked direction. Was it a ghost story? maybe... Was it about the Spanish flu? perhaps. Was it about the war? potentially

I honestly couldn't get in to this story and although I finished it, I doubt it will leave any lasting impressions
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,019 followers
July 20, 2015
This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight
So, as you may know (or maybe you don't, I don't know what you know), I adored Cat Winters' The Cure For Dreaming. Like, all time favorite-status adored. Obviously, when this book popped up on Edelweiss, I knew it needed to be consumed by me as soon as possible. Good news- It did not disappoint! And now, we shall talk about all the reasons why:

Cat Winters is an absolute master of historical fiction.

How can someone who was very obviously not alive in the early twentieth century make me feel like she was? I do not know, and that is the genius behind this. Obviously, Ms. Winters has done her research incredibly thoroughly, but it goes beyond that. She somehow gets to the emotions behind how I'd assume a real twenty-something woman would feel in this era. How I would likely feel in this era, really. It's a strange feeling, as though I am actually getting a legitimate glimpse into the past. The world building and characterization are extremely vivid, which ultimately leads to it being extremely thought provoking as well as entertaining.

I adore reading about history, especially this time period (and I really only found that out via Cat Winters' work, so there's that), but it is also terrifying to realize that this isn't all fiction. Of course, this story is, but the events as a whole? Nope. The Spanish Influenza epidemic was very real, the war was very real, and the hate for Germans was real. Also real? The complete bullshit that women went through on the regular. After I read a Cat Winters book, I basically spend the next half hour silently thanking every suffragette for her work and paving the way for women. We may have a long way to go, but we sure have come a very long way, which Cat illustrates remarkably well.

There is mystery abound!

This is not just a run of the mill historical fiction, oh no. There is a supernatural element, but also a very real life mystery going on. Of course, Ivy knows that her father and brother were the murderers, but she doesn't have any answers beyond that, and she seeks them. How could you not if you knew your family was behind such a heinous crime? Add to it that she is seeing the dead and is terrified that she may lose someone else close to her, and you've got a young lady that needs some answers, stat!

Romance & Swoons

So, I don't want to say too much about the romance, but it's pretty great. These characters may not have a lot in common at first glance, but delving deeper into their lives, they have both suffered loss, and being treated as "less than", and it just works.

Fabulous side characters, complex familial relationships and friendships

Ivy is not the only star that shines in this book. She befriends a war widow who takes her in when she must leave home, she meets some incredibly courageous volunteers who help with the influenza outbreak, and she has a heartbreaking but beautiful relationship with her mom. Her relationships with her living brother and father are obviously strained, but still intricate. And even after Ivy leaves home, her family is still front and center in her life.

Bottom Line: Cat Winters has officially become an auto-buy author for me. Her stories are gorgeously vivid, inspirational, and multifaceted. Need I even say more?

**Copy provided from publisher for review**
Profile Image for Sarah Swann.
764 reviews1,014 followers
October 17, 2018
Listened to the audio of this incredibly quickly. Overall the storyline was good. I liked the setting and what the characters were going through. There was a good twist I didn’t see coming. What I didn’t like was that the characters were using sex to escape reality and ignore what was happening around them. It seemed a little out of place and I hated the reason they were first together. HATED! I was teetering in a 2 star rating, but the twist brought it up to a 3 for me.
August 10, 2015
Buchanon, Illinois is a quiet town, but it's filled with people who hate Germans, thanks to World War I. Plus, this small town is dealing with a dangerous strand of influenza. Ivy Rowan, a twenty-five year old piano teacher, just recovered from the flu and has come to find that her brother and her father confess to killing a German. Just because. Ivy is disgusted by their blatant racism and violent acts, so she finally gains the courage to leave her family's house. She heads into town to find a room and comes across May, a recent war widow, and May takes Ivy in. But you see, Ivy isn't a regular girl. Many of the women in her family can see ghosts, so keep this in mind. While in town, Ivy feels compelled by guilt to seek out the brother of the man her family killed, hoping to help him out in some way. Even though at first their relationship isn't a strong one, they can't deny their attraction to one another. As their relationship progresses, Daniel, the grieving brother, introduces Ivy to jazz as well as love, but he is hiding a secret. To top it off, the American Protection League (sort of like a racist town watch) is on to Ivy and doesn't take well to her hanging out with a German. Plus, Ivy sees more and more ghosts. What can it all mean? Cat Winters's first adult novel, The Uninvited, left me feeling rather unsatisfied. Although I enjoyed the setting, many parts of the story fell flat for me.

Read the rest of my review here:
Profile Image for Mel (Daily Prophecy).
1,093 reviews461 followers
November 22, 2015
This book took a very interesting twist. I love how she makes the paranormal touch feel so natural; like it's something that happens every day. Review will follow.


Cat Winters has been on my favorite list ever since I read In the shadow of blackbirds. She followed up with the fantastic The cure for dreaming and she has settled her place with The uninvited. Every single one of her books have been successful and I absolutely adore her writing and the strong heroines she creates.

The setting takes places in the last days of World War I, in 1918, during the Spanish Flu pandemic. The world is in panic and Ivy has to deal with the fact her father and brother killed a German out of retaliation for her brother’s death in the war with Germany. Shocked, she flees home and is swept away in a world of jazz. She doesn’t know how to deal with her feelings of guilt and decides to visit Daniel. He is a German who has to deal with a lot of prejudice and he suffers from the loss of his brother at the hands of Ivy’s family. The two of them start an unique relation.

I loved the setting. If a book mentions something about a sickness I’m all up for it and Winters has a fantastic use of the Flu pandemic. The whole book has a dark atmosphere because of the wide-spread hysteria. We get to see whole neighbourhoods that fall for the Flu and how little care there is for its victims. Ivy helps out with the transport (and at the end you realize how utterly brilliant this is) and I admired the fact she took that risk.

This brings me to Ivy, who immediately stole my heart. She can’t put up any longer with her brother and abusive father, so she walks away to an uncertain future. She has no place and no money, but her intelligence brings her far and soon she is settled down. Ivy is also able to see The Uninvited ones; ghost from people who herald impending death. The way Winters wrote about this aspect of the story felt so real. It never felt out of place and it made a lot of sense. There was a mental strength to her and I liked being able to see the world through her eyes. It took a lot of courage to visit Daniel, especially because it is dangerous to connect yourself to a German during this time, and I love their dynamic. Daniel is a bitter person after everything he had to endure, but I warmed up to him easily. They bring out the good parts of each other and it’s interesting to see how their relation developed.

The story itself is a quiet one. There are no big climaxes or dramatic situations. It is more about the atmosphere and how Ivy/Daniel try to battle with the hatred against all Germans. History lessons never really touched the subject about how Germans were treated in other parts of the world, so it made an impression on me.

The twisty ending place everything in a new perspective and I must applaud Winters for coming up with such a conclusion. It ties everything together and explains a lot. It was very powerful and it punched me in the face. A book with an ending that leaves you speechless for a few moments is definitely worth a try.
Profile Image for Drew.
450 reviews501 followers
November 16, 2015
“I admit, I had seen a ghost or two.”


Ivy has the uncanny ability to see ghosts.

The women in her family have always been this way. Just before someone is about to die, Ivy will see the ghost of a loved one. A warning or a curse though it may be, Ivy has grown used to her strange gift.

In 1918, war is plaguing every street and the Spanish influenza is raging in town. From house to house, people are dropping like flies. Death hangs heavy in the air.

Ivy has recently recovered from the sickness herself and sets off to live in town, putting distance between the farmhouse where she grew up and her cruel brother and father live.

The Uninvited explores so many interesting topics, such as feminism, the plights of war, and the shaming of an entire race because America was at war with Germany.

Ivy's father and brother killed a German man, but they don't see it as the horrifying murder that Ivy does. They think of him as a traitor, a "Kraut," not even a person. Being part German myself, this affected me even more deeply.

Ivy feels horribly guilty over the death and seeks out the dead German's brother, Daniel, to apologize to him. They form an odd friendship of sorts.

As always, Cat Winters' prose was charming, beautiful, atmospheric, and easy to read. I liked being in Ivy's spirited mind that reminded me of Winters' other heroines in her YA books, Mary Shelley and Olivia Mead.

I loved the ending to this book. There was a plot twist that took me by surprise and added so much more to the story. It made me think back on everything I'd read and changed my perception of all the characters.

Another showcase of marvelous storytelling by the author.
Profile Image for Lisa Wolf.
1,654 reviews206 followers
August 14, 2015
It's not often that a book so successfully combines a subtle, eerie ghost story with compelling historical fiction, but The Uninvited really pulls it off. Set during the 1918 flu epidemic in a small Illinois town dominated by anti-German, anti-foreigner agitation, the book captures the fear caused by the deaths of so many, on the battlefields overseas and at home from illness. The plot builds, adding tension and complications, until a really stunning final third that ties it all together just marvelously. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Caitlin V.
113 reviews17 followers
August 10, 2015
4.5! So so good. I love reading books taken place in the World Wars. And I love reading about the ghosts. This was my first true ghost book and I loved it. Full review coming soon!
Profile Image for SpookySoto.
960 reviews124 followers
January 11, 2019
Rating: 3.5 I liked it a lot😁.
Feelings/ Emotions : Surprised, intrigued, moved.
Recommended if you like: Historical fiction, romance, paranormal stories, character driven stories.
Would I read something else from this author?: Maybe.
2018’s Around the year in 52 books: #20, A book rated 5 stars by at least one of your friends.

The uninvited is a history set in the USA in 1918, in the middle of the Spanish flu pandemic, one of the deadliest in human history. We follow Ivy, she and all the women in her family have the ability to see ghosts when a loved one is about to die.

I enjoyed it a lot, it was very atmospheric and educational, I haven’t read almost anything about this time period —War War I— and knew nothing about this pandemic. It was saddening to read about the anti immigrant sentiment —mostly geared toward Germans —, misplaced patriotism, paranoia and all the horrific acts human beings are capable of because of fear, ignorance, power or war. What’s even more saddening is that this is still going on, it’s cyclic, what’s different is the war and the ethnic origin of those suffering from the discrimination and persecution.

In the middle of all of this there’s a compelling love story, an interesting array of side characters, and the paranormal stuff. I was expecting more ghost, and that to be the focus, so I felt the premise and title was very misleading.

I was immersed in it but I like more plot driven stories, so this dragged a bit for me and was a tad too repetitive, I was almost bored in some parts. Ivy got on my nerves because of her indecision. Nela and Addie also bothered me a lot because they were too demanding of Ivy. I also think it took too long to wrap things up.

In the end I do recommend it if you like slower paced stories, historical fiction and don’t mind some supernatural sprinkled in.
Profile Image for Lauren  (TheBookishTwins) .
467 reviews203 followers
January 3, 2016
I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

First Impressions: Disappointing and kind of boring. Had it not been for the last 20% and that massive twist, I think my rating would have been lower.

Review: It's 1918, and twenty-five year old Ivy is just recovering from the flu when she sees her Grandmothers ghost. These ghosts are harbingers of bad news - someone is going to die. She calls them the Uninvited. An hour later, her father and brother come home covered in blood after killing a young German after the death of her brother, Billy, in the war. She leaves home amid the chaos and discovers the flu has its hold on her little town in Illinois. With her new found freedom, Ivy discovers jazz, love and passion, but soon her uninvited guests start making regular appearances and Ivy knows disaster is about to follow.

I don't read adult novels often, but as I am a fan of Cat Winters after absolutely devouring her In the Shadow of Blackbirds, I thought I'd give it a go. Overall, I'm more than slightly disappointed by Winters new novel, The Uninvited.

As a history nut, I undeniably loved the atmospheric setting of a country stricken by influenza, suffering through the effects of war, and the rise of jazz. Yet whilst I loved this, I felt that not much happened, despite moving at such quick pace, it all felt quite boring. I wasn't particularly fond of any of the characters all that much, and on a whole, I felt let down by The Uninvited. What saved this book for me, and left no doubt in my mind that I'll be reading more of Winters, is that twist that left me in awe.

Overall, a great atmospheric novel, but tame and quite boring at times.
Profile Image for Emily Donnellan.
553 reviews429 followers
January 12, 2016
In the Shadow of Blackbirds earned Cat Winters a place on my must read authors list. I love the way she can transport a reader back in time and really make her characters feel real.

The Uninvited takes place during World War I and the Spanish Influenza, the same as In the Shadow of Blackbirds, but in a different part of the country. Through this novel we got to see how the Spanish influenza increased tensions between Germans who had immigrated to the United States before, and during, the war and Midwesterners.

Ivy was a great main character who we got to see come out of her shell. She grew up seeing spirits of those recently deceased and has lived a largely indoor life. After her brother is killed in the war her father and brother kill a German man in town and Ivy knows she has to get out of the house. She leaves and becomes a boarder with a young war widow.

I don’t want to give anything away regarding the romance in this book but, suffice to say, it was more than satisfying. I really wanted everything to work out for Ivy and her beau but the times, flu, and war were all conspiring against them. It was that realistic struggle that I really enjoyed reading about.

I truly did enjoy this novel my only qualm is that this is the third book by Cat Winters set in the same time frame. I understand she may be under contract to write in this particular time period but I would really like to see something different from her. Cat is a brilliant storyteller and I want to see her try her hand at a different time period.

Overall, this was a really fabulous book. The setting and romance were beautifully told and this novel kept me up late reading. The ending was a tremendous surprise that I was glad I didn’t see coming!
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