The Winter People is a novel written by Jennifer McMahon. It is set in the city of West Hall, Vermont, and it follows the story of someone both in the past, and the present. There isn’t a singular narrative in it, because it switches from character to character, but it is very easy to follow, because it switches at the beginning of a new chapter so you don’t have to keep track of it yourself.
The main focus of the novel is on Sara Harrison Shea, she was found dead in the field in front of her house in 1908, completely skinned. Her diary was found under the floor boards in her old house in more recent times and the family now living there has to somehow solve the mystery of her death and find out where the missing pieces from the diary is located. These missing pages conveniently contain information about how to bring people back from the dead. The house is located close to a rock formation called the Devil’s hand and guess what? It contains some sort of portal where the dead can return if you perform some grotesque ritual. In recent times we follow the story of Ruthie, whose mother has gone missing. It is her that finds the journal and realizes that her mother’s disappearance must have something to do with that woman.
All of the different stories that we follow converge in the end, although they can seem a bit too coincidental, they merge somewhat well. What I didn’t like about the novel though, is that the ending works out a bit too well, if that makes sense. It’s as if someone snapped their fingers and suddenly everything was back to normal. It could have done with a more implied end, leaving me with a sense of wonder and mystery instead of just plainly say that this and that happened and that all is well. It was a decent novel though, and I rated it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. It’s not the best novel I have read, but definitely not the worst.