Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: urban legends, ghosts, monsters, death, murder.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars


It didn’t take much for me to sign this book out of the library. I pulled it off the shelf, opened the cover, and saw that the main setting was in Vermont. Done. Signed it out, and two days later, finished reading it. The Winter People is a ghost tale thriller, and it had me turning the pages to figure out what would happen next.

The story revolves around main character Sara Harrison Shea and her daughter Gertie. Without giving too much away, Sara and her husband Martin lose their daughter in what was deemed an accident in 1908, and the aftermath of the way they handled the situation haunts to town for years to come. This tragedy sends Ruthie and her little sister Fawn, current residents of Sara’s old homestead, on a hunt for answers after they find a copy of Sara’s diary hidden in their mother’s room.

Now, I love a good ghost story, and as I said before, this book had me hooked. However, the review is that it’s not gripping enough to make my favorites lists. The plot itself is pretty good, as necessary information is leaked out with enough suspense that it doesn’t give everything away all at once. There were some good plot twists and although some might be able to predict the ending, I couldn’t with any certainty. However, the reading level leans towards more young adult, as it’s readability is a little simple and repetitive and I didn’t love the resolution as it seemed a little Hallmark to me, though it does have a bit of a cliffhanger in it, keeping the thriller theme.

If you want a quick, gripping read, I’d say check it out. If you’re from Vermont and are excited that an author decided to write about your pint-sized state, sure, pick it up. But if you want something that’ll truly scare you, or something more believable, move along.

TL/DR: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon is a creepy suspense thriller based in Vermont.

Read it? Yes, if you like scary but not grotesque novels.

Recommend it? Yes, but best for adults or mature readers.

Buy it? It’s a backlist novel, so if you love McMahon and want a copy for your collection, I’d buy a used or secondhand copy. Otherwise, I would say save your money for when her next new novel comes out!

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