Friday, September 4, 2015

The Uninvited by Cat Winters {review}

The Uninvited
by Cat Winters
♦publisher: William Morrow
♦release date: August 11, 2015
♦paperback, 343 pages
♦intended audience: Adult
♦source: from publisher for 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.
Review:  Once again, I am thrown back into the past with Cat Winters' gorgeous storytelling.  This author has such an expert touch with historical turn the pages and you literally feel like you are walking down the streets of 1918 Illinois right alongside Ivy, seeing the horrors of the rampant influenza and the suspicions, ugly prejudices, and family losses caused by The Great War.  As much as it's a world  I would never want to live in, being sucked into it's wretchedness from the comfort and safety of my couch is endlessly fascinating. 

When we meet Ivy, she is an illness-weakened homebody, but when she finds out about her father and brother's crimes, she leaves her family home behind. She strikeds out on her own,  finds a place to stay with a school friend's widow, and seeks out the brother of the man her family murdered, hoping to relieve some of her guilt by helping him. Through a few unexpected encounters, Ivy finds herself caught up in a nightly mission to save the sick, being eyed as a german conspirator, and in a love affair where she never could have expected it. I loved this characters compassion, bravery, the flaw of her irrational guilt, and her tendency to give in easily to curiosity. There are lots of interesting characters floating in and out of Ivy's life, but none as much as Daniel, with his pain and his secrets and his love and passion for jazz music. 

The story is just completely haunting, and not just because Ivy can see the dead and know that it means someone else is going do die. Each revelation was unexpected to me and spine-chilling, but in the end I just found the whole story beautiful. It's a story about finding comfort in the ugliness of the world and about love and how it can make us see things clearly (and sometimes not so clearly). The inclusion of fantastic playlist of music is one of my favorite things about this story. And as someone who has always loved the incredible jazz music of the 40s,  its the most unique and entirely wonderful depiction of heaven and the afterlife Cat Winters could have given me. I want to reread this someday with the music ready to play alongside each scene! 

Another incredible read from this author. 

Find Cat Winters online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Purchase the book:  BookDepository  •  Indiebound  • Amazon

Also check out the playlist of music mentioned in the story:


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