The Uninvited by Cat Winters surprised me with its touch of history and haunting love story. Not quite being a young adult novel, but not quite being typical fiction, The Uninvited reaches an audience of 20-somethings, like me, who enjoy fiction without all the intense adult themes of say… 50 Shades of Grey.
Ivy Rowan is a 25-year-old sing woman who lives in a secluded world of illness, death, and war. Her brother, Billy, recently died serving the United States in WWI in France while the rest of the country falls ill to what will be known as the Spanish Influenza. But influenza is not the only thing ailing U.S. citizens; prejudice against the Germans has caused literal lynch mobs to form. Even Ivy’s own brother Peter and father have taken a German man’s life. On top of everything, Ivy and the rest of the women in her family have the gift of seeing spirits before someone dies. Ivy has decided to finally leave her family farm and seek restitution for her family’s sins by helping the surviving brother of the German man her brother and father murdered. Unfortunately, the ghosts start appearing more often. This leaves Ivy wondering who’s going to die next, or if the ghosts are simply here because of all the people dying from the flu.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from almost start to finish. I say almost start because it did take a good 50 pages to get going, but it was worth the wait. Winters does a fantastic job of tying in history, music, poetry, love, and pain in one not-too-long tale. I always complained I never learned enough about WWI in my education, and I have a lot of education as I just finished my master’s this summer. I found Winters’ recollection of how people dealt with the war on the home front fascinating. More than that, I found Ivy’s character relatable. Ivy spent the majority of her life living for her family, worrying about her family, and trying to please everyone else but herself. As someone who has went from taking care of my grandmother to now my temporarily disabled mother, I can relate to the need to experience life while still being young. I felt the love story was believable and welcome.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I think Winters bridged a gap between young adult lit and fiction that has for too long been left wide open. While there were still adult scenes, they were done tastefully. The novel flowed and was completely addicting. I read the entire book in one sitting! I would recommend this book to basically anyone, considering the “supernatural” element is not really a main story point.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.