Let me start by saying that Jennifer McMahon’s earlier book The Winter People is one of my favorite books. And I’ll probably read anything she writes from now on. But it also means I come into her books with fairly high expectations.
I was excited to add The Invited to our 2020 Bookly list, and felt like it couldn’t be a better fit for our October selection. And I wasn’t totally wrong! Haha. It was a solid ghost story set in Maine during late summer and early fall, so it was a great time to pick this one up. But overall, for me, it wasn’t a home run. Don’t worry, I’ll share my thoughts without any spoilers…
I struggled with the main character. She fell a little flat for me, and I never quite hooked into any of her motivations. It’s not giving anything away to say she spends most of the story fixated on local historical artifacts that tie into the greater mystery. And to me this fixation seemed like a bit of a leap. At least if there’d been a little bit more added as to why she was so fixated, and why this fixation wasn’t giving her any introspective pause, I think I could have gotten there.
And in the end the story fell into place just as I thought it would. But that being said, and not to toot my own horn, I do have a tendency to figure out the endings long before they arrive. I tend to read mysteries to solve them, less for the story… just me?
But I did really enjoy a lot of the relationships in The Invited. Helen and Nate’s dynamic and Olive’s relationships were what kept the characters and the story grounded for me. And the town legend turned ghost story was intriguing enough to keep me flipping through the book at a fast pace. It’s definitely a quick read!
In conclusion, I liked it but didn’t love it. I guess I just wish I’d liked Helen more? Or maybe my expectations got the best of me? But either way I wouldn’t steer anyone away from reading this one. It’s a great October book, and I know plenty of readers who’ve really enjoyed it. It just didn’t knock my socks off. But I recommend picking it up and deciding for yourself!