Review: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling 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.

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon. Published by Doubleday, April 2019, 384 pages, Kindle. I received a kindle ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoy Jennifer McMahon’s stories. They are filled with rich emotions and gothic creepiness with unique supernatural twists. I have enjoyed everything I have read so far by her, with the exception of her last novel, Burntown. Even though I didn’t like the last book by her, as soon as I saw she had a new book coming out, I couldn’t wait to pick it up. The Invited sounded too good to pass up. A couple BUILD a haunted house? What an interesting idea! This author always takes a typical supernatural theme and turns it around in to something completely new.

I loved how you had the plot being told from two different points of view, on the same day(s). Helen, the adult, who moves in to a new town and begins to investigate the dark history of the land she is living on, and Olive, a 14 year old girl who is trying to figure out why her mom disappeared. Olive is Helen’s new neighbor and helps Nate and Helen build their house. It was interesting to see how both Olive and Helen’s stories connected when they didn’t even know what the other was up to. Sometimes you got to see the same event but from both views. I thought that was really interesting and very well done. It was addictive getting each clue and then watching the puzzle pieces come together. I couldn’t put down the book at all in the end when everything was finally snapping together in place! I was on the edge of my chair the whole time waiting to see what happened next. The Invited was a well written, suspenseful supernatural mystery. There were plenty of twists throughout the whole book. Very typical of McMahon’s lovely style. A little melancholy, but a beautiful story.

This author has a wonderful way of delivering raw emotions to the reader. It connects with anyone who has been the outcast at school, or the new face in a small town. It was hard not to get swept up in the enthusiasm Nate and Helen had for building their new home. Jennifer McMahon has such a way with words, you really felt all the happiness, sadness, rage, despair, frustration… every emotion, you feel it so clearly. It’s like a wave, starting small in the distance but growing larger and more powerful as it picks up speed until it crashes dramatically on to the shore, knocking you over.

I really enjoyed The Invited. If you are already familiar with Jennifer McMahon’s work, I don’t think you will be disappointed at all with her newest novel. If you have never read her work before, this is a great book to start with. Suspense that kept you wondering the whole time, what really happened or who really did what? There are plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing and a very surprising end. 😮


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s