Thursday, May 16, 2019

Review: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Double Day
Date of publication: April 2019

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.

I love a good ghost story and had high hopes for The Invited.  I loved the twist of building a haunted house instead of moving into one.  Unfortunately, the book ended up being a so-so read for me.  The book involves Helen and Nate who give up their teaching careers in the city and buy land in Vermont.  They want to build their dream home and live off the land.  What they didn't bargain for was the land coming with a ghost or two.

I'm not really sure I would classify this as a ghost story.  It wasn't creepy or scary in the slightest.  I mean there was a ghost, kind of, but it didn't give me the chills I wanted. The story is told through duel perspectives of Helen and Olive, a girl who lives in the town.  I think it was the duel perspective that kind of ruined the book for me.  I was able to figure out the twist really early on and you will too if you pay close attention. The book could have been shorter.   I got a bit bored with the mundane details about the house they were building.  But, I did follow through to the end and was correct in all of my guesses about what really happened.  

It's not a bad read, it just wasn't what I was hoping for.  Give it a shot, just don't go into it thinking you will be too scared to read it late at night.  You won't.

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