The Winter People

The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon

April's Reading Challenge ~ Spring in Your Step

This month you will read:

1 ~ book that takes place at least partly in spring.

2 ~ book about new life in some form.

3 ~ book with sun on the cover or spring in the title.

4 ~ book that includes outdoor things (i.e. sports, gardening, care of animals).



This is an extremely twisted version of this prompt, but hey, I'm pretty sure it counts.


"If snow melts down to water, does it still remember being snow?"


This was fabulous all the way through.


I love the sort of horror novel that sets itself up to be creepy. Not outright scary, but with a subtle kind of horror, where several of the twists seem almost expected because it is impossible to believe anything else could happen, where the flow of the story just makes sense and leaves you feeling shivery and horrified but not always completely sure you would act differently in this kind of situation.


This book is best compared, probably, to

Stephen King's Pet Sematary, given in practice they are about the same thing: tortured parents who have lost a child and then discover a way, perhaps, to bring them back. But will that actually be what they want in the end? What reprecussions will that have, not only on themselves but on their families and communities?

(show spoiler)


The switching between the diary entries from the past and the "present-day" narrative was beautifully done, and it all came together quite well. I was very impressed with the writing and with the handling of the characters, who acted in a way that seemed in keeping with their personalities and also almost terrifyingly rational, given the horrors contained in this small New England town (why is it always a small New England town? What is it about that setting that is so terrifying?)


I loved reading through the diary entries and watching what was happening. On some level, we knew the ending of the story from the first--it is part of the legends of West Hall and we hear bits and pieces of it very early on. On the other hand, watching it actually play out was terrifying and heartbreaking.


I thought everything came together quite well and I was pleased with the fact that we had a lot resolved, often in ways that would have been completely unexpected at the beginning of the book but somehow felt quite right at the end, and that we still had a hint of mystery once things were wrapped up.

Katherine, what have you gotten yourself into?

(show spoiler)



If there are more horror novels by this author, I am absolutely going to pick them up. Maintaining a creepy atmosphere throughout an entire novel is not an easy thing to do, and to do it so seamlessly means real talent that I am interested in watching closely.