The Invited: A Novel

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Helen and Nate are living their dream. They’ve quit their jobs, bought some woodsy, remote land in Vermont, and are building their dream house. They have a budget, a design, a fantasy, and passable construction skills. Thanks to a helpful inheritance, they have enough money to live on while they establish their new life. The locals aren’t thrilled with the newcomers, but Helen knows that’s how small towns are. Soon enough, she’s made friends: Olive, an awkward teenager, and Riley, Olive’s aunt, who shares Helen’s love of history. But darkening the rosy picture are the mysterious things that start happening in and around their half-built house. Nate spots, and begins to track, an albino deer. Helen sources a wooden beam, a mantel, and other elements for the house, which all have an unusual and violent history. Eventually, she believes she sees–and hears–a ghost. Research into the land’s history suggests it may be Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who was accused of being a witch and hung on their land in 1924.

This is a very readable ghost story, though the plot’s forward movement often relies on discoveries made at the historical society or in library books rather than character-driven action. The novel is most gripping when Olive recklessly searches for her missing mother–an obsession that leads her into dangerous territory. The flashback chapters that tell the story of Hattie and her doomed kin are compelling as well. This is a thriller, so there is peril, but the central conflict of the novel remains the eeriest thing about it: Helen has actively built herself a haunted house. Anyone with a real estate horror story in their personal history can appreciate the true, bone-chilling horror of a mistake like that.


Reviewed By:

Author Jennifer McMahon
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 353 pages
Publisher Doubleday
Publish Date 30-Apr-2019
ISBN 9780385541381
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2019
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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