Jun 02

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

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I received a free digital copy of this book as part of my involvement with Netgalley.  All thoughts are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

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 build one . . .

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate have abandoned the comforts of suburbia 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 beautiful property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the local legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. With her passion for artifacts, Helen finds special materials to incorporate into the house–a beam from an old schoolroom, bricks from a mill, a mantel from a farmhouse–objects that draw her deeper into the story of Hattie and her descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died suspiciously. As the building project progresses, the house will become a place of menace and unfinished business: a new home, now haunted, that beckons its owners and their neighbors toward unimaginable danger.


My review:

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer McMahon’s previous books.  All of them offer an engrossing read that really gets you enthralled.  If I wasn’t sure what to read, McMahon’s books were always a great choice.  My only complaint is that several of the covers featured a photo of a young girl, so I would easily get confused about which ones I had read.  I call that a reading problem. 😉

When I was offered the chance to review The Invited, I didn’t realize it was by Jennifer McMahon at first.  I still was excited to read it based on the synopsis, but then realized who the author was and was doubly excited.  I was in for a great tale!

The Invited offers part suspenseful thriller and part ghost story, with another part mystery.  While not mentioned in the synopsis, a girl living near Helen and Nate, Olive, and her aunt figure prominently into the story.  I particularly enjoyed McMahon’s introduction of Olive, which I presume is why she’s not mentioned in the blurb.

I think my favorite aspect of the book was Helen’s delve into local history.  There’s usually always a ton of stories from the past in little towns like this.  However, I bet they’re not always as well documented as portrayed in this book, but I think the presence of a factory where many of the town worked would make this possible.  But I could also just be stuck in my 1990’s view of local historical societies.  I’m sure so much has changed with all of the technology the past 25 years or so has brought us.

It’s interesting how Nate and Helen are trying to make this state of the art house that is very much 21st century, but wind up diving into the past to find out more about the area and the people around there.  Even as they’re building the house, they are living in a dingy trailer, secluded from the rest of the town.  Helen finds salvaged pieces of old houses to add to the house, and Nate isolates himself into the nature that surrounds their home site.

I know summer reading tends to be more frivolous and lighthearted, but I feel like The Invited would be the perfect book to bring on a vacation, where you can hopefully get some uninterrupted reading time.  Pick up (or download) your copy of The Invited by Jennifer McMahon and check out her back catalog for even more great reads.



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