The Winter People opens with the makings of a wonderful ghost story: strange disappearances, missing diary pages, a rock formation in the shape of a hand, and a local legend about a woman that walks at night.
The novel loses some of its punch, however, by giving us too many different points of view. Sara/Martin is the most interesting thread, as they are closest to the main narrative events.
Having lost many children, Sara makes a Faustian bargain to bring back one of the dead. She uses her Aunt's instructions to bring her child back from the dead. Sleepers, however, can only walk the earth for seven days unless they spill blood.
Three contemporary stories muddy the waters, however, making the plot somewhat difficult to follow. A teenage girl and younger sister, the new inhabitants of the house, find strange objects (two driver's licenses and a gun) in Sara's house. These items lead them to a deranged woman who demands the return of missing diary pages--something they know nothing about.
Next, a grieving woman becomes involved in the hunt for missing diary pages when she learns her deceased husband had also visited Sara and Martin's house. The four of them, the teenage girl, the little girl, the deranged woman and grieving woman decide to look for the "portal" in the Devil's hand.
MacMahon crafts beautiful prose and an intriguing scenario. While the novel is still enjoyable, a tighter plot would have made it even better.
*I received a free advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.