Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pair It With: The Vanishing Season and The Winter People

This week's "Pair It With" books are set in the dead of winter, in the cold north. They feature missing persons, murders, and ghosts. If the summer heat is making you ache for winter, these books just might set you right.

Maggie Larsen moves to Door County, Wisconsin after her mother loses her job in Chicago. Maggie and her parents move into a ramshackle house on Water Street that they turn into a home. Maggie befriends Pauline and Liam who also live on Water Street and they become a threesome. There is also a killer in Door County, someone who is murdering girls and a ghost that sees it all.

The Vanishing Season is a quiet book and the writing is absolutely lovely. It seems to me that so much of this book is set up to insulate Maggie and her friends from the world. Maggie is home schooled, Water Street doesn't get cell reception, and the killer makes people less likely to venture out. And winter, of course, is always a quiet season.

Jodi Lynn Anderson's book is not really a mystery. It's not really a ghost story. This book is about friendship. It's about three friends who just happen to be living with looming danger. There's so much that is lovely about this book, but ultimately, for me, it didn't go where I wanted it to go.

The Vanishing Season is out July 1st, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss.

West Hall, Vermont is plagued by mysterious disappearances and creepy apparitions. Excerpts from Sara Harrison Shea's journal from 1908 are woven with the stories of two women living in the present day. Ruthie's mother Alice disappears on New Years Eve, and Katherine comes to West Hall to reconstruct her dead husband's final hours.

The Winter People is a great little ghost story. It's setting is perfect ghost story material: small town, dead of winter, 100 year-old-house, spooky woods, missing people, long-held secrets. I would definitely recommend it for a spooky October night. The January setting also has that quiet, heavy feel of wintery books. If you are feeling overheated in the midst of summer, this book might help you cool down.

Jennifer McMahon builds the bricks of this story in just the right order, carefully revealing the mystery little by little.

Review copy from NetGalley.

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