Less Scooby Doo, more Shirley Jackson please.

I realize now that I’m pretty difficult to please when it comes to ghost/haunted house stories. This book had all the elements; an old farmhouse, possibly haunted woods and a long dead person’s diary. In the end it just didn’t deliver for me. Possibly, it just wasn’t what I was expecting, or the fact that none of the characters really resonated with me. Overall the book was good, but not great.

The Winter People follows two stories concurrently which occur 100 years apart. In 1908 we follow Sarah Harrison Shea who struggles to accept the death of her daughter Gertie. In the present day, we follow the story of Alice, who lives off the grid in the same house in the present day with her mother Alice and her sister Fawn. Alice goes missing, which propels Ruthie’s story forward. Naturally, the two narratives are connected in ways you may or may not have expected.

I think my issue I had with this book was that I was expecting the creepy atmosphere and building tension of a ghost story, and what I got was essentially a mystery story with supernatural elements. I’ll admit there were a few twists that I did not figure out right away (most notably, the deal with Ruthie’s parents) and the book was interesting enough to keep me reading. It’s a good solid story if you like a supernatural mystery. I think it was just a bit of a letdown after some of the great reads I’ve had this month. the-winter-people