A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Cat Winters will never fail to amaze me with how beautifully she melds historical elements into her stories. As with In the Shadow of Blackbirds Winters ventures back into 1918 and the horrible flu outbreak with her newest novel, The Uninvited. This time she also adds in the panic surrounding World War I and the push to show patriotism and to fear/hate anyone with ties to Germany. Winters was able to create such vivid scenery and describe the time period in such detail that I was easily transported and could feel the despair and fear.
Be aware, the other books from Cat Winters are geared towards (or at least classified) as young adult. The Uninvited had a bit more sexuality and the characters are in their twenties. In this novel we follow from the point of view of Ivy- a woman in her twenties (young to me but nearing old maid status back then). Ivy had the ability, like others in her family, to see spirits. These guests turning up always indicated something awful happening in the very near future. What a creepy and fantastic ability- especially during a time of war and illness.
I really can’t tell you how wonderful this novel was. I adored the writing (of course) and the story was able to keep me in its grips as well as spin me for a couple of surprises. Each of Winters’ books are rich in historical depth and touched upon the social problems of the time period This blend mixed with an eerie aura was absolutely delightful. The Uninvited didn’t disappoint in this regard but was able to add in a few new touches.
There was a romance that I was fully behind- and as always I could use a bit more. I completely felt the chemistry between the couple though some of their relationship felt rushed. Because of the time period this novel was set in and the elements the characters are experiencing it fit within their story-lines to rush things but for me, personally, I would have enjoyed a slower progression.
Even the characters that rarely graced the page managed to feel developed and complex in their own right. I felt a connection to so many aspects of this book and the people’s plights- it was an emotional read for me.
Seriously, if you’ve not read anything by Cat Winters you need to do so immediately. If you are already a fan then you know that this should be on your to be read list. The Uninvited was fast paced, creepy but also very enlightening about the time period it was set. There’s no question Winters has done her research about the time period surrounding the 1918 flu outbreak and is incredibly knowledgeable. In short- get thee to a book store.