Published August 11th 2015
by William Morrow
From the award-winning author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds comes a stunning new novel—a masterfully crafted story of love, loss, and second chances.
Set during the fear and panic of the Great Influenza of 1918, The Uninvited is part gothic ghost-story, part psychological thriller, perfect for those who loved The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or The Vanishing by Wendy Webb. Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War. Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.
I have been quite interested in Cat Winters ever since I have heard a few of my little blue birds signing her praises. I saw that this was a ghost story set around the turn of the century and just knew it would be my kind of book. Thank you to Cat Winters for proving my theory correct.
This story isn't only about ghost, which Ivy Rowan and her mother are able to see before the passing of a loved one. It is also about some serious prejudice during World War 1 and the Spanish Influenza. I have a deep deep love for history but I am sad to admit I didn't quite know much else besides the bare bones about either of these topics. Mrs. Winters was able to breath and amazing amount of life into both subjects by creating a tale of love, loss, and finding true freedom no matter where you are or what you have done. I thought this was going to be a ghost story but it turned out to be so much more than that. The plot was steeped in mystery right from the start and laid out in an intriguing manner to the very end.
The relationship that Ivy forms with German resident Daniel is so fascinating to see. Even thought her father and brother uprooted this young man's life entirely. Ivy still has it in her heart to try to make amends and slowly Daniel lets her in. All the while this is taking place with a back drop of severe sickness and death. The 1918 Spanish Influenza wiped out 675,000 americans. Whenever reading something Historical that I don't know much about I tend to google it and let me tell you floored is an understatement. I was stunned at the staggering figures not only in America but world wide. Over 1/5 of the worlds population was infected. Twenty to Forty MILLION people lost their lives during 1918-1919. These folks died trying to clear their airways of red tinged froth that sometimes gushed from their mouth and noses. The worst part was the age group that was the hardest hit was the 15-34 year olds. All of this death was needless to say a perfect setting for a girl whom is able to see harbinger spirits, spirits whom predict the death of someone nearby.
There is so many twists and turns that one is sure to be kept on their toes. If you are a historical fiction fan or a fan of a good old ghost story this brilliant yet haunting tale is for you.