Title: The Uninvited
Author: Cat Winters
Publishing Information: August 11, 2015 by William Morrow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror
Series Information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 343 pages
Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher
Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction with paranormal elements, strong heroines, and those of you looking for some swoony feels
Related Reviews: Review of In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
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.
We follow Ivy as she leaves her childhood home behind. She does her best to move on from the violence and guilt that her family brings. As Ivy leaves home, she walks by the store in which her father and brother committed a horrible act of violence and finds Daniel Schendel down on the floor, doing his best to remove the blood from his floorboards. Ivy does her best to push into Daniel’s life and provide him with some sort of solace to replace the guilt that she feels from her family’s crime. Over time, the two are able to build something beautiful despite the horror that is right outside their door.
“I know he’s in mourning and a tragic figure, which I’m sure melts your poetry-loving heart.”
This novel broke my heart in the very best way. Like other novels by Cat Winters, Ivy is living in a rather difficult time for women. Therefore the growth of her character was truly amazing to watch. Her strength shone through the terror and ugliness of the time in which she is living, I especially liked her role in driving an ambulance for the Red Cross. Daniel grows in his own way as well, and learns to trust that not everyone is as hateful and close-minded as those he had come in contact with prior to meeting Ivy. The secondary characters have their own layered and interesting personalities and I found that I really cared about each one.
As you may know, I adore Cat Winters and her novels. I find them to be some of the most atmospheric and deep feeling novels that I have ever read. The Uninvited was no different, in fact, I fell even more in love with this novel than the prior two that I have read. One of the things that I have been wanting with the atmosphere and mystery that surrounds novels by Cat Winters is more romance. More adult, curl your toes with passion romance. I am so happy to tell you that The Uninvited is filled to the brim with these passionate encounters. Being that Ivy is older and that the novel was more adult than the author’s other novels we are able to see a positively fantastic plot element that I so desperately needed.
“Out there,” he nodded toward the window. “is chaos. In here, it’s paradise. We found paradise, Liebling. But you have to keep coming back to get it.”
The Uninvited was filled with horror, hatred, and so much ugliness. However, with every bleak moment there was a moment of hope and even love. The ending was absolutely heartbreaking in so many ways, I read it months ago and still cannot stop thinking about it.
Shelf Talker: There is so much to be said about The Uninvited. It is a truly beautiful and atmospheric historical fiction novel filled with paranormal elements, phenomenal plot twists, jazz, and a romance that will make your heart ache. Cat Winters has most definitely become one of my “auto-buy” authors, I can’t get enough of her work.