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Sunday, May 5, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon @doubledaybooks @jennifermcmahon @jessmapreviews

The Invited 
by Jennifer McMahon 

Thanks so much to Doubleday for these copies! Jessica and I are both huge fans of McMahon!

Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: April 30, 2019
384 Pages
Genres: Paranormal, Horror

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Timesbestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don't simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it's too late . . . 

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home--wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks--she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie's descendants, three generations of "Breckenridge women," each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day. 

My Review:

Who would ever build a house and WANT the ghosts to come  and live? Helen! That's who.  Girl, are you CRAZY?!  I absolutely LOVE the premise of this book. As a history teacher Helen is absolutely fascinated with the legend of Hattie Breckenridge.  The further she gets in her research and the more "historical" pieces she includes in the building of her new home brings about strange instance, apparitions and a further deep dive.  Hattie is here... but is she friend or foe?

Like most of McMahon's stories, this is a slow burn.  The atmosphere and writing style is what keeps you glued to the pages.  I loved how this was sectioned off into the different stages of building a house.  I was definitely engaged with Olive and her story line more so than with Helen or Hattie.  Why? I have no idea but my heart just felt for her.

While I love those A-HA moments in a story, sometimes it's not needed and this is one of those stories.  I did find my attention waning a teeny bit towards the end and found the twist to be fairly predictable.  However, what I absolutely love about this book is the premise, the gothic feel and the overall sense of foreboding.  Is it bad to say I envisioned the ghostly parts like an elevated Scooby Doo? **shrug** I mean that as a compliment!

McMahon is a go to author for me and I can't wait to see what else she brings us as each book is so unique.


Jessica's Review:

Like a lot of other readers, I'm a big fan of Jennifer McMahon and she has become an auto-buy author for me! My introduction was BURNTOWN a couple years ago and since then I've picked up most of her other books. When I saw the synopsis for THE INVITED I was so ready to start it. A haunted house? Sign me up! I would definitely classify this as more of a ghost story with some mystery, not a horror story. So keep that in mind before starting!

We are immediately transported into the bog on Hattie Breckenridge's property - she orders her young daughter, Jane, to hide and not come out until she comes to retrieve her. The town's people are tracking Hattie down and are accusing her of being a witch. She is hung on her own property and the location of her family's riches is buried with her. Fast forward to the present day, Helen and Nate have bought a property in Vermont and are building their dream home from the ground up. Eerie things begin to happen and Helen is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Olive is a young girl whose mother has disappeared. Olive is determined to find the treasure on the old Breckenridge property so that her mother will return home to her - after all, it was their destiny to. Olive crosses paths with Helen and Nate and must now help them with the construction of their home. As the project continues they learn that spirits can be connected to objects and that their work has only just begun.

This was a slower burn from the start. There are some creepy elements here and there at the start as Helen begins to learn the history of their property and of the Breckenridge women. There is no doubt in McMahon's abilities to weave and blend together the past and present seamlessly. I would consider this to be more character driven and the ghost story builds as a result. If you're looking for horror and a faster pace, then this might not be for you. If you like a layered and Gothic ghost story, then you'll want to have this on your TBR.

3.5 stars

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