Well, to go from the warm sweetness of the Waverly family in Bascom, NC to the weird and fucked up world of West Hall, Vermont was quite a shock. But The Winter People was probably one of the best horror stories that I’ve read in a while, and I pretty much devoured it in an afternoon. The cover compares it to the world of Stephen King, but to me, it had much more of a Tana French/Sophie Hannah kind of feel — you don’t know who to trust, everyone has a secret, and oh yeah, there’s a demon in them there woods.
“Madness is always a wonderful excuse, don’t you think? For doing terrible things to other people.”
In 1908, Sara Harrison Shea started a journal about the insane events that followed the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. A few months later, Sara dies, too — followed quickly by her husband. Their land had always been rumored to be haunted, but when Sara’s niece discovers and publishes the journal, the rumors reach epic proportions. So that’s one chunk of the book — Sara’s story. This alternates with two other, present day stories: Ruthie, who lives in that same farmhouse and whose mother has suddenly gone missing, and Katherine, whose husband died in a car wreck recently, after the death of their young son. All the storylines collide, and some crazy shit happens.
The Winter People was creepy, tense and very well-written. I couldn’t wait to see how it ended, and while I guessed at bits and pieces, the way it all came together was a shock. I would recommend this to anyone who likes horror, especially backwoods, buried under the snow kind of horror.