Author: Jennifer McMahon
Type: Fiction, novel
I read it: January 2016
Are you a winter person? I don’t mean the kind of person whose favorite season is winter (do those wackos even exist?) but the person who hibernates, secludes, and fades into the darkest parts of the season. A snowy weekend indoors can get ghostly, even in a city setting, but a secluded New England countryside is an even lonelier place to spend a dark night. Such is the setting for McMahon’s ghost story, which doubles as a mystery.
The initial events occur in 1908 when a couple, Sara and Martin, confront the death of their daughter. Their lives descend into madness and bloodshed. Fast forward a century or so, to when Ruthie, a recent high school graduate, lives with her mother and sister in the house where Sara and Martin resided. Sara kept a diary whose pages have leaked into the small Vermont town and its subconscious, and tells of strange doings near her property. The present day also pulls Katherine into the mix, a widow on the search for clues of her husband’s secret trips to the same small town.
A lot of questions intertwine between the multiple narratives. What happened to Sara and Martin? Why does everyone want her diary? What’s up with the house and its many hiding places? What’s killing animals out near the Devil’s Hand rock formation? Is there really a ghost? If so, who is it? What does it want?
Though not quite as scary as I was hoping, the book does deliver answers. Curl up with this one in January. If you’re brave, do so in a secluded cabin on a snowy night. You may find that winter lives in your bones.