Finished March 10
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon, read by Cassandra Campbell and Käthe Mazur
This novel is set in and near the small town of West Hall, Vermont. The voice moves back and forth between several characters. In the present day we have Ruthie Washburne, seventeen years old and aching to leave West Hall to go to college. She lives on a farm with her mother Alice and younger sister Fawn. Her father died suddenly a few months ago and her parents live very simply with no computers and as little contact as possible with government and other authority. Ruthie comes home late one night to find the lights on but no sign of her mother. When the next morning finds Alice still missing, Ruthie and Fawn start looking for clues, finding disturbing evidence of a hidden past and dangerous circumstances. Included in their find is an published diary of a previous resident of the farm, Sara Harrison Shea.
Also in the present day is Katherine a woman mourning the sudden loss of her husband in a car accident a couple of years after the loss of their young son to leukemia. As she retraces her husband's last movements, they lead her to West Hall, and include the diary of Sara Harrison Shea.
The past includes entries from Sara's diary as well as the voice of Sara's husband Martin, as he watches his wife lose herself in grief over the loss of their only living child, Gertie, in what seems like a horrible accident.
Ruthie can't help but wonder if Alice's disappearance is related to the diary and the circumstances laid out in it, and when others find their way to the farm following similar clues, she is forced to go to the nearby rocky outcropping known as the Devil's Hand to see if the diary is based on more than a mother's grief-stricken delusions.
Sara's description of "sleepers", the dead brought back to life temporarily, and Ruthie's own dreams of places and people unfamiliar to her also provide clues to the true situation. This is a disturbing book of magic and it's effects.