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April 6, 2015

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Jenny Javier, The Winter People, Apr6The flight from Manila to New York fell on what was officially the first day of spring. More than two weeks into the trip and the weather here has been anything but. Colleagues from the New York office say what a brutal and drawn-out winter season it has been. Meanwhile, visitors from the tropics (including yours truly) shiver and rattle our teeth walking around in 2 degrees Celsius winds.

The season notwithstanding, the international sales conference is a much-anticipated event for team members based outside the US. Penguin Random House employees from all over the world gather in the New York City headquarters to talk about what we love best—books. Specifically, books from the recent spring list to those publishing in the fall. The second best thing is hearing about the books from the very people who handpick, edit, and publish these books present each title.

Set in snowy, rural Vermont (where Jennifer McMahon is based in real life), THE WINTER PEOPLE is a dark,  atmospheric novel about small town superstitions, strange disappearances and family ties so close that death does not stand in the way. Central to the story is the secret diary of Sara Harrison Shea, who died at age 31 in 1908. The diary holds shocking secrets and revelations that could change what we think we know of life and death. The novel goes back and forth between 1908 and the present day, as different characters try to unlock the secrets the diary contains.

The story opens with Sara narrating the very first time she saw a sleeper in the woods, in the middle of winter. “Sleeper” is a term for creatures brought back from the dead, inchoate representations of the humans they used to be. As you continue to read, passages like ‘Knock once for yes, twice for no” tells you that while the sleeper co-exists, it refuses to be seen and hides in the closet or ventures deep into the woods, to be seen as a fleeting shadow.

For readers looking for a classic ghost story with a twist (and something that you don’t have to read with all the house lights blazing), THE WINTER PEOPLE will keep you hooked until the very end.

THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMachon was available in paperback on January 6, 2015. Available in select bookstores.

Watch out for the author’s new novel, entitled THE NIGHT SISTER, in hard cover on August 4, 2015.


PRHPenguin Random House is the world’s first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

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