the invited, Jennifer McMahon, Doubleday Books, book review, ghosts, mystery, thriller

The Invited a Doubleday Books Book Review

The Invited Cover
A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don't simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it's too late . . . In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs…

.The Invited written by Jennifer McMahon is a mystery/thriller book with a really interesting plot. Several times throughout the book I thought I had solved the mystery but then the next paragraph I read had me doubting the ending again. Right up until the end, this book was a thrill to read and things are definitely not what they seemed.

Hattie Breckenridge – 1924

The book begins with Hattie Breckenridge’s story. May 19, 1924 is when Hattie lost her life.  As a little girl she had a special doll, Miss Fentwig. Miss Fentwig told Hattie things, things that she really didn’t want to hear. Things that were going to come true whether people believed her or not. What would you do if you got a message that your father was going to die, struck by lightning. She told her mom and dad, they didn’t believe her. But two weeks later lightning struck her Dad while he was putting his horse in the barn. People got scared and took her doll away, but Hattie still heard the voices.

Now Hattie is a woman, with a young daughter Jane. People didn’t like Hattie, but when they needed a love spell, or something else that Hattie’s powers could help them with, they would go to her in secret. Now Hattie had gotten a message and had tried to warn people that there would be a fire at the school and children would die. Once again, people didn’t believe her.

Hattie kept Jane home from school that fateful day, but still the fire happened and 3 children, Lucy, Ben and Lawrence had died.  Now there was an angry mob coming to Hattie’s property looking for her daughter. Hattie had told Jane to go into the old cellar that only they knew about, and not to come out until she came to get her. She faced that mob alone, and that mob took action and Hattie was never able to go and get Jane out of the scary, dark cellar.

Helen and Nate – 2015

May 18, 2015 and we meet Helen and Nate watching the foundation of their new house being laid. Helen had grown up with a builder father so she knew how critical it was to get the foundation done perfectly. So even though they wanted to build the house, just the two of them, they started the project with some help. Both Helen and Nate had been teachers, but they had given up their jobs to move to Hartsboro, Vermont and build the home of their dreams. Nate has a scientific mind and believes that there is an answer for everything. Helen has a historical mind so when she hears that the property they bought was once owned by Hattie Breckenridge she started the historical research on their property. The stories she uncovered were much more than she expected.


A neighbor of Helen and Nate was NOT happy to see them move in. Olive, along with her friend Mike, spied on the new neighbors. She willed them to go away as they were ruining everything. Mike insisted that they were going to be late for school and that he had to leave her. Olive was missing a lot of school. Her mom had gone. Most of the town said she had run off with a man.

Her Dad never spoke about her, but suddenly he wanted to change their whole house so that when Olive’s mother came back she would be so happy and she’d want to stay. Olive’s Aunt Riley got worried about both Olive and her brother. She would check on them, bring them food and offer Olive escapes for overnight visits to relax and be a kid, but Olive always declines because she is worried about her dad.

In one final attempt to get rid of Helen and Nate she dresses up to scare them. Unfortunately they caught Olive. Now she finds herself helping them with building to work off parts of her crime with them. She got excited working with Helen and introduced her to Aunt Riley. Aunt Riley works in a salvage company that had some pretty cool stuff for their house. She also volunteers at the local historical society so she could help with Helen’s research.

Strange Things Happening

As the story moves along, and historic items are brought into their home being built – strange things start to happen. Nate is becoming obsessed with a white deer on their property. Aunt Riley explains that this is Hattie, but Nate dismisses this because it is just a deer with a genetic abnormality. Helen starts to see things, but soon she is keeping that information to herself because Nate doesn’t believe her. The more research that Helen does on Hattie the more of a mystery things become. What ever happened to Hattie’s daughter Jane? Olive is also doing research on her missing mom because things just are not adding up. A lot of mysteries to solve. Now some people are trying to shut down all this research and things are getting dangerous.

The Invited is a great read, and a great mystery.  It’s awfully hard to stop at the end of the chapter of this book and put the book down to do the to-do items you have on your list. So enjoy the ride, and be prepared to keep on reading until you get to the end.

Disclosure:  Thank you to Doubleday Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of this e-book for review purposes.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

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