Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Opening Paragraph 

I admit, I had seen a ghost or two. The childhood night my mother's father died, when silver moonlight graced the floorboards and the antique furniture in our front room, I came upon my granny Letty--gone one year and a month--rocking in my mother's chair, next to the upright piano.

Back Cover Blurb

From the award-winning author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds comes a stunning new novel—a masterfully crafted story of love, loss, and second chances. Set during the fear and panic of the Great Influenza of 1918, The Uninvited is part gothic ghost-story, part psychological thriller, perfect for those who loved The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or The Vanishing by Wendy Webb.
Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. 
But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains.  For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.
Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.
The Uninvited is an atmospheric, haunting, and utterly compelling novel.

Review by Mirella Patzer

I'm a big fan of gothic and ghostly tales as long as they are written authentically and with believability. This story definitely met that criteria. It is set in an American town called Buchanan during World War II. Ivy Rowan lives a normal life in Buchana, but she has a dark secret. Whenever someone is about to die, the ghost of a loved one will appear. The Spaish Flu is ravaging the country, killing many of its victims, and Ivy is struck down. Somehow, she is one of the survivors. When she learns that her brother and father have murdered a German shop owner in town, she flees her family home and decides to live independently in Buchanan. Soon, she is drawn into the lives of several townsfolk. When she begins seeing ghosts, she knows doom is about to descend and she struggles to prevent the inevitable. 

This is a tale of transgression, guilt, forgiveness, prejudice, and love. The setting itself is full of conflict - World War II when neighbor is suspicious of neighbor, especially if they have any ties whatsoever with the nom-allied forces in Europe. Even humming a foreign tune can get folk arrested. Cat Winters has written antriguingly dark, haunting tale, that abounds with mystery and plumbs the depths of the human spirit to persevere in the face of death and danger. There are some surprises and twists along the way with a shocker towards the end. Although there are some mixed reviews on this novel, I for one loved its atmosphere, sense of mystery, and compelling heroine. Definitely one of my favourite gothic/ghost stories! 

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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