Recently, our little family took some time off to relax in a cabin in Northeast Minnesota. It is one of our favorite places in the world and the spot to sit lakeside and unwind with a good book. I brought The Invited by Jennifer McMahon and it ended up being the perfect spooky cabin read. This one is a ghost story with a twist and it captured my attention within the first few chapters.
Helen and Nate want to live a simpler life. They leave behind their teaching jobs in the city and purchase a plot of land on a country bog that is supposedly haunted. Being a former history teacher, Helen dives into the history of their land and its past residents. She becomes immersed in the story of Hattie Breckenridge, a local legend who lived on the bog years prior and was rumored to be a witch. Helen begins incorporating old building pieces with haunted history in their home build and they start to build their own haunted house.
Jennifer McMahon is known for her atmospheric mysteries with spooky ghost themes and The Invited was just that. You are immediately sucked into Helen and Nick's dream of living in the country, growing their own vegetables, living a more sustainable life. (I am all about that minimalist living!) The chapters change perspective between characters, including Helen, past Breckenridge women and a teenage neighbor girl, Olive.
I wasn't blown away by this book by any means, but it kept me entertained (don't let my terse facial expression fool you...the sun was in my eyes!) I love a haunted house concept and this storyline is unique in the sense that rather than moving into a haunted house, Helen and Nick essentially build their own. I found Helen a bit annoying, but don't even get me started on Nick...... Olive kept my attention because she comes with a lot of family baggage (a missing mother and a father who is addicted to remodeling their home.) I wanted to keep reading her story to find out what happened to her mother and figure out her story.
I found parts of the plot predictable, but other parts surprised me. Overall, I found The Invited an enjoyable ghost story mystery with atmospheric writing that I have come to know with Jennifer McMahon. I read The Winter People years ago, so I barely remember the details of the plot, but what I do remember was the vivid writing that makes you feel like you are right there with the characters. I felt that with The Invited. Jennifer McMahon falls into the 3.5 - 4 star range for me with her books. I don't expect to be completely blown away, but they entertain me enough to be worth the while.
3.5 - 4 stars