Author: Cat Winters
Series: None. Standalone.
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Genre: NA, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
I received a free egalley of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects the honesty of my review.
Guys, I loved this book! This was my first adventure into and Adult novel for review, since I’m so used to Cat Winters writing YA books that I adore. But I ended up loving this as much as I love her YA! So, without further ado, here is your synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
1. True to form, Cat Winters gives us historical fiction with a dash of the creepy.
This story is set in 1918 during the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza of World War I. So of course there is a lot of illness, paranoia, and paranormal happening in Ivy’s town. Fresh from a fever of her own and the knowledge of the death of one of her brothers, Ivy is ready to no longer be a shut in. After her father and brother murder a German man in town, Ivy can’t handle being in the same house and she strikes out on her own. While in town, she gets news of the APL spying on civilians and of a widow who is looking for a boarder. Ever since Ivy was young, she was able to see Uninvited Guests (which is what she and her mother call the spirits they see before someone they love dies). So, mixed in with this small town’s illness, death, and paranoia are some ghosties. As I said, true to form for Cat Winters. I am NOT complaining.
2. Ivy annoyed me for most of this book.
I know, I know, she’s a 25 year old spinster just striking out on her own, but hear me out. Ivy is constantly taking other peoples’ actions on to her own shoulders and feeling guilty for things she can’t control. As someone who used to do that, I saw a bit of my former self in her, which is probably why I was so annoyed. At one point, I even told Goodreads how much she was annoying me with all of her guilt. Just stop it already!
3. The love story in this book developed a little quickly for my taste, but it totally fit.
Ivy ends up visiting the brother of the man who was murdered by her own father and brother. She does anything and everything she can to assuage her guilt. Daniel is the brother left behind. The two brothers were both from Germany and Ivy’s father blamed THEM for the death of his son. There is one scene where Ivy asks what she can do and he tells her to go to bed with him. Her response? Okay. At first I was kind of taken aback by this because of what I had found out about Ivy to that point. But then I got to thinking: a lot of people must have behaved that way during any war. They never knew what was coming next, whether they would live or die, or if they’d get sick. It made a lot of sense the more I thought about it, and their story was too cute.
4. I’m not giving you any spoilers, so this point will be short and sweet:
Nothing is what it seems. If you have read either of Cat Winters’s other books – which, if you haven’t, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! – you should come to expect this. That’s all I’m sayin.
5. Cat Winters’s writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever encountered in a book, ever.
I don’t know what it is about Winters’s writing, but it just takes me away. It engrosses me so much in her books that I usually forget where I am when I’m reading them. Not many authors can do this for me, but Winters is one of my favorites. I felt like I was feeling everything Ivy was. The way she describes things is so beautiful and magical. She is hands down one of my favorite authors and I will forever read anything she produces. You go, girl!
OVERALL: 4 stars! I really really enjoyed this book. I’ve been reading YA so long that I kind of had a hard time with the pace of this book, but it was phenomenal as I’ve come to expect from the QUEEN, Cat Winters. This book releases on August 11, so get thee to your local bookstore and get this IMMEDIATELY!