Book Review: The Winter People

The Winter People
Published By: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Page Count: 320
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Genre: Fantasy - YA

As a child, Salome Montgomery fell into the frozen pond on her grandparents’ property and was narrowly saved from drowning. Convinced that there were terrifying creatures in the water who saved her, and left with a phobia of wintery conditions, Salome has endured years of therapy and medication. 

 Now 17, she is left in charge of her grandmother’s garden for the winter. The strange ritual of leaving gifts in the garden, and the need to ensure the gate is secured and threaded with pieces of rowan wood don’t ease Salome’s fears. The voices that haunted her childhood return and she finds herself fighting for her life against a mysterious evil. 

Having always been the “weird” one, she suddenly finds herself receiving more male attention than she is used to. Her classmate Colton, who she has had a crush on forever, suddenly asks her out. In her grandmother’s garden she meets the mysterious Nevin, with whom she feels an instant connection. And then there’s Gareth, who is always in just the right place at the right time to get her out of trouble. The three have very different agendas, and not all have Salome’s best interests at heart. 

 The Winter People is part mystery, part romance and part fantasy. Purdy goes beyond the almost obligatory love triangle and creates a love quadrangle, with three male characters vying for Salome’s affection. At times I felt this was a little forced, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. The mystery elements were the most interesting part of the story for me. Salome has a limited amount of time to solve the puzzle and save herself from an untimely death and the very nature of the problem means that those who have the answer can’t share it with her. 

 One thing I really liked was the realistic reactions of Salome’s parents to her situation. Faced with a daughter hearing and seeing things that seemingly aren’t there, they display worry of course, but also real frustration. Salome’s mother takes her to a psychiatrist believing her to be having psychotic episodes. As the reader, we know that Salome’s visions are real and the tension created between mother and daughter adds to the general level of suspense. 

 The fae elements of the story are familiar, without being clichéd. This allows the story to move at a good pace. I liked that this appears to be a stand-alone novel and that the story wasn’t dragged out into a trilogy, which seems so common in YA fantasy literature. 

 The Winter People was an enjoyable read which I recommend for those who like their romance with paranormal elements.

An engrossing, complex, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, set in a wholly unique world.

Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she'll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.