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Book review: 'The Winter People' by Jennifer McMahon

Scary thriller may have you peering under the bed at night.
Oklahoman Published: March 30, 2014
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“The Winter People” by Jennifer McMahon (Doubleday, 314 pages, in stores)

Pages from an old diary draw very different people to West Hall, VT, in “The Winter People” by Jennifer McMahon.

In 1908, Sara Harrison Shea and her husband, Martin, have a daughter, Gertie, after years of failed pregnancies. Gertie is killed in an accident, and Sara seems out of her mind with grief. She believes that Gertie is still with her, whispering to her and holding her hand, up until the time she dies. She is brutally murdered in a field behind the house, a rural farm located in a rocky area, surrounded by woods, with a path leading to the Devil’s Hand, an outcropping of rock and caves. West Hall is the nearest town.

A hundred years later, Ruthie and her sister, Fawn, are living in Sara’s farmhouse with their mother, Alice. They have been told not to go into the woods. Several people over the years have gone missing after entering the woods and never seen again. There are whispers of haunting and of something evil there. But somehow Ruthie has a feeling she’s been there before.

One morning Alice disappears without a trace. While searching the house for clues to her mother’s disappearance, Ruthie finds an old diary, hidden under the floorboards in her mother’s room. It was written by Sara Harrison Shea, and in it is the formula for raising the dead. Shea’s niece, Amanda, published some of Sara’s writing, but not the information in the diary.

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