Sigh. Well this was an okay story, I only enjoyed the past time period in the book (the Sarah and Martin sections) and didn't like the present at all except for Ruth. The book fell down at the end too and I honestly didn't find this too scary.
"The Winter People" follows four people (Martin, Sara, Ruthie, and Katherine) in different time periods. Martin and Katherine's narratives are from the 1908 and Ruthie and Katherine are from the present day. The book focuses on all of their connections to a farm house in Vermont that is located near the so-called Devil's Hand. Why people would live near anything with the word devil in it is beyond me.
As often with different narratives in one book, there were only two that I liked in this one. Martin and Sara's. We get to see how hard their lives are back in the early 1900s and how Martin is scared that he is losing Sara after the death of their daughter. Sara's story takes a while to get going. I was bored through the first 20 percent of the book. Sara's narrative is pretty thin until she starts recounting her childhood and we see what losing her child, Gertie, is doing to her. Sara also weaves in talk of her Auntie (not her real aunt) who ended up raising her and providing food and love to her, her brother and sister, and her father. Sara hints at something terrible happening, but we don't find out until the very end of the book. I have to say that the reveal was a horrible letdown though. I had some thoughts on Auntie, but can't get into it without spoiling.
Ruthie's narrative is boring, but gets stronger as she realizes her mother is missing and she needs to be strong for her little sister Fawn. Katherine's narrative doesn't work and I also thought she was an idiot by the time the book ended.
McMahon decides to throw in a ridiculous character that really doesn't move things forward. I am just baffled she was included since there was so much already happening in this story.
The flow was up and down, jumping from person to person didn't really work. I think if we had the straight telling of Martin/Sara or at least Sara's told in chronological order it would have been a stronger book. Instead we had too much going on and not enough explanations until the very end.
The town of West Hall, Verrmont felt sparse, and most of the action was focused on the farmhouse. It made an interesting location, though I wish that it had been showcased a bit more. Make it more like the Overlook in "The Shining" and explain things a lot better. I am still confused on what made a winter person (it makes very little sense until you get to the end and even then I went, um okay...).
The ending was interesting. You get to see what path Ruth chooses that I had some issues with. Especially when we get Sara's narrative and we see what happened to her. And Katherine was a fool times infinity.