Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Yet again, McMahon has absolutely blown me away.
The Invited follows Helen and Nate Wetherell, a couple from Connecticut that took a leap of faith and moved to Vermont in the hopes of returning to a simpler life. After searching all over Vermont without success for a colonial-era home seeped in history that could be updated with greener initiatives, they decided to purchase a plot of land to build their dream home, incorporating Helen’s love for history and Nate’s commitment to sustainability. The land included a bog (or a fen, per nature Nate), and plenty of acreage, but the couple knew something had to contribute for the low price and the urgency of the sale. It took little time to learn the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, who supposedly haunted the property. Curious and eager to connect with her new home, Helen delves into researching Hattie’s past, finding clues that help reveal Hattie’s family tree. As the couple’s progression on their home continues, the ghostly activity stirs, leaving Helen determined to find out what message Hattie is trying to send.
Meanwhile, Olive isn’t sure that she’s ready to have new “flatlander” neighbors. As a fourteen year old freshman whose family troubles have become a source for public ridicule, Olive is determined to continue her mother’s quest to find the Breckenridge buried treasure. Local legend says that it was hidden in the bog, and Olive doesn’t want her new neighbors to find it before she does, as she’s sure that if she finds it, it will bring her mother back and save their family. However, after she’s confronted by Nate and Helen, they become fast friends, working on the house together. It becomes a perfect distraction for Olive, and in turn, Olive introduces her aunt, Riley, whose vast knowledge on Hattie becomes extremely beneficial to Helen’s research.
The Invited is AMAZING. I couldn’t stop reading. Every page revealed another piece of Hattie’s life and death. Even when I thought I knew what would happen, something else would fall into place, totally throwing me off the path of predictability. McMahon’s novel is gripping, haunting, and perfectly paced. She weaves a sensational web, allowing the readers to get tangled up as they try to figure out what will happen next- only to shock them in the very last chapter! I always love a good ghost story, and this one is both gruesome and eerie- just enough to creep you out, but not enough to give you nightmares. With themes such as family bonds, small town bias, ghost legends and witch folklore, there’s plenty of dramatic allure to pull any reader into the novel.
On a personal note, I also love that McMahon chose Vermont, my home state, for her setting. It’s nice when little Vermont gets to be in the spotlight of a novel. She definitely gives readers the quaint feel of a rural small town, as well as show it’s seedier underside with it’s colonial roots and prejudice, and at times, dark history.
I am so honored and gratified that the Doubleday publishers granted my request to read The Invited, because it has easily worked it’s way to the top of my favorite reads of 2019. Every twist and turn has left me with more adoration for McMahon’s work, and I can’t recommend her reads enough (for more, check out my reviews of her other novels, Burn Town and The Winter People). I could go on and on, but I just cannot recommend her enough, so make sure you pre-order The Invited now or snag it when it hits shelves at the end of this month! I’m already anticipating what McMahon comes up with next!
Expected Publication Date: April 30, 2019