Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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 has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars – Worth re-reading
The Winter People is eerie. The synopsis is misleading in that Ruthie isn’t as great a focus as it makes her out to be. There are several other characters the book goes in depth with, enough for me as a reader to feel more connected to Sara Harrison Shea and her husband, Martin than to Ruthie and her little sister Fawn. The book could be tagged as horror, paranormal, historical fiction, and mystery.
Many of the main characters are women and I like that. Only Ruthie and her mother Alice appear as heroes, but most of the action is driven by women and it was fun to compare these characters of different ages and backgrounds. There’s a Native American, and a rich girl who has luncheons with her friends and then hosts seances with them afterwards.
The book is partly in diary format and well organized. I wish there were more entries by Sara Harrison Shea. The author won my respect when the spooky little legends mentioned in the beginning of the book are explained and make sense within the context of the story by the end. There aren’t any loose strings, and if there are plot holes the story was written so skillfully that they didn’t pop up in my face and throw me off while reading.
My overall impression is that the book is brilliant and I wish it were several hundred pages longer. I’ll be re-reading it in the future.