The Invited

The Invited

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...

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Title:The Invited
Author:Jennifer McMahon
Rating:

The Invited Reviews

  • Melisa

    I absolutely loved this multi-layered, multi-generational ghost story and mystery, steeped in tragedy.

    Jennifer McMahon is masterful ghost storyteller - she has gone back to her roots with The Invitation with a straight up ghost story that will scare your socks off. I haven’t been this spooked by a book since reading Simone St. James’

    which had a similar gothic, haunting vibe. And I so appreciated the nod to history geeks such as myself here.

    I have long been a fan of this autho

    I absolutely loved this multi-layered, multi-generational ghost story and mystery, steeped in tragedy.

    Jennifer McMahon is masterful ghost storyteller - she has gone back to her roots with The Invitation with a straight up ghost story that will scare your socks off. I haven’t been this spooked by a book since reading Simone St. James’

    which had a similar gothic, haunting vibe. And I so appreciated the nod to history geeks such as myself here.

    I have long been a fan of this author and I think this is one of her strongest books yet! Recommend!

    Thank you to Doubleday Books for my advance copy.

  • ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

    Anyone that knows me well at all knows I absolutely A-D-O-R-E

    . She writes some of the creepiest and most chilling books I have ever read. Unfortunately, while I still really enjoyed

    , it was not my absolute favorite from her.

    Helen and Nate have decided to leave their teaching jobs and move from the suburbs of Connecticut to forty-four acres in Hartsboro, Vermont. Using money she received after her dad died, Helen and Nate decide to build a hou

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

    Anyone that knows me well at all knows I absolutely A-D-O-R-E

    . She writes some of the creepiest and most chilling books I have ever read. Unfortunately, while I still really enjoyed

    , it was not my absolute favorite from her.

    Helen and Nate have decided to leave their teaching jobs and move from the suburbs of Connecticut to forty-four acres in Hartsboro, Vermont. Using money she received after her dad died, Helen and Nate decide to build a house on the land and stay there in a trailer while it is being built. But this is not your standard, large piece of land and people in the area say it is haunted. Helen likes things with history though, and Nate doesn't believe in ghosts. Soon Helen finds herself engrossed with the history of the property and the dark things that happened on the land. But when strange things start to happen at the building site during the night, Helen and Nate must decide if staying there is smart, or if it has the potential to be deadly...

    jumps between past occurrences on the land, and POV-wise mostly between Helen and a young girl named Olive in present day. I loved the different timelines and storylines in the book, and they definitely kept me very interested in what was going on. I wasn't a huge fan of all Olive's sections, but most of them were necessary to the story.

    And like with most of this author's books,

    has a very real ghost aspect to it. So if you don't like books that delve into the supernatural world, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to you. I happen to love that about McMahon's novels, and that ended up being what disappointed me the most in this one. While the ghost aspect was there, I think she could have gone SO much further with it and made this book even better than it was. Especially considering the fact that this cover is so dang creepy and perfect for the story.

    Also, did I mention how atmospheric this book is?? The setting was positively eerie, and it made everything seem even creepier.

    is quick, interesting, and classic McMahon so if you haven't picked up a book by her yet, or are already a huge fan, I definitely recommend picking this up. I loved that the sections of the book were broken into the building of the house, plus the pacing, along with the other things I mentioned. The only things that fell short for me were the ghost aspect, finding myself annoyed at times with Olive's sections, and the fact I figured out a major part of the plot before it happened. This was still a very solid read though and one that I will be recommending!

  • Holly  B

    Nate asks his wife, Helen what would make her "happy".  She tells him that she dreams of a country life, away from the demands of the city.  She wants land, a garden, chickens, goats, reminiscent of her childhood reading of the 

    Nate and Helen buy the land and begin building the home of their dreams. They are building it themselves and adding some pieces of local

    Nate asks his wife, Helen what would make her "happy".  She tells him that she dreams of a country life, away from the demands of the city.  She wants land, a garden, chickens, goats, reminiscent of her childhood reading of the 

    Nate and Helen buy the land and begin building the home of their dreams. They are building it themselves and adding some pieces of local history to their master plans.

    As Helen fills the house with local artifacts, she 

    from the past. Suspicious and unfriendly townspeople, strange noises in the night, paranoid thoughts, and a story from a century ago have Nate and Helen desperate to figure it all out.

    A ghost story and a haunted house made this one an intriguing story with some tension and foreboding.  Well-written with a unique spin that held my attention until the end.  I really enjoyed this one.

    * I did not find this one scary. There are themes of generational curses, spirits, witches, and ghosts.

    Thanks to NG/ Pub for my review copy!

  • Debra

    3.5 stars

    Nate and Helen decided to change their lives. They resigned from their teaching jobs and moved to rural Vermont where they began building the home of their dreams. They purchased the forty-four acres of land from a man who was extremely motivated to sell. So happy to have a good deal, in a beautiful setting, they soon learned that their land was once owned by a suspected witch, Hattie Breckenridge. A woman who the town chased down and hung for being a witch. Rumors about the land are al

    3.5 stars

    Nate and Helen decided to change their lives. They resigned from their teaching jobs and moved to rural Vermont where they began building the home of their dreams. They purchased the forty-four acres of land from a man who was extremely motivated to sell. So happy to have a good deal, in a beautiful setting, they soon learned that their land was once owned by a suspected witch, Hattie Breckenridge. A woman who the town chased down and hung for being a witch. Rumors about the land are all around town. People also had tales about sightings of Hattie. Undeterred, Helen and Nate continue to build their home. When Helen purchases materials for her home, not only do strange things begin to happen but she begins to have sightings. Intrigued by the history of the land and tales of Hattie Breckenridge, Helen decides to learn all she can about Hattie and her descendants.

    Olive, a local teenager, is looking for answers about her Mother's disappearance. She is also obsessed with finding lost items in the bog. To right a wrong she agrees to help Helen and Nate build their house.

    As the trio continue to build Helen and Nate's dream home, it becomes evident that the past is not ready to rest, that items can act as conduits, and that Hattie and her descendants need help.

    The Invited beings with a thrilling scene which got my attention right away. When the tension of that scene is over, things slow down as the story in the present day is being told. I found the first half of the book to be on the slower side as McMahon built her story, introduced her characters and set up the book for the second half. Speaking of the second half, things picked up and became interesting as there are more sightings and the back stories of Hattie's descendants are told.

    I can't say that this was my favorite McMahon book. (My favorite being

    ) but this book was atmospheric and the bog was eerie. This book was not spooky, scary or even creepy. So more people may be able to enjoy this book. It wont keep anyone up at night, checking under their beds or looking in their closets, but it was enjoyable. It was also well written, and things came together nicely in the second half of the book. Witches, ghosts, Vermont, bogs, deer, lost items, found items, strange noises and wild life all play a part in this paranormal tale/mystery.

    Thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • marilyn

    Middle school teachers, Helen and Nate, living a comfortable, sane life in the city, decide to ditch their jobs, new condo, and city life, after Helen's father dies and has her rethinking what she wants to do with her life. They buy 44 acres in the Vermont woods, with it's very own bog. In line with their new way of life, they are building their house themselves and Helen goes about finding things that are related in some way to Hattie Breckenridge, a rumored witch who lived on that property a c

    Middle school teachers, Helen and Nate, living a comfortable, sane life in the city, decide to ditch their jobs, new condo, and city life, after Helen's father dies and has her rethinking what she wants to do with her life. They buy 44 acres in the Vermont woods, with it's very own bog. In line with their new way of life, they are building their house themselves and Helen goes about finding things that are related in some way to Hattie Breckenridge, a rumored witch who lived on that property a century ago. Helen has trouble finding anyone willing to talk about Hattie and in fact, a lot of the local townsfolk seem to be suspicious of Helen and Nate, for buying and living on Hattie's property.

    This is not a horror story but it is a ghost story. The scares are subtle and the story is a slow one, building quietly, as we get to know Helen and Nate, in their new surroundings and also get to know a their 14 year old neighbor, Olive and her dad. Olive's mom disappeared the year before and rumors have it that she ran off with a man, much to her husband's utter grief. Olive's aunt Riley watches over Olive and her brother when she can but mostly Olive is on her own, skipping school to look for clues to her mother's disappearance.

    Strange things are happening in the tiny town and on Helen and Nate's property, causing friction between the couple as Helen keeps looking into Hattie's haunted past while Nate seems to be on his own supernatural quest, as he tries to follow a white deer through the woods. Then there are some townsfolk who seem to be up to no good, with their seances and secret meetings.

    I enjoyed this slow book, especially spunky Olive and her sad father. This was a group read with the Traveling Sisters group on Goodreads and also my Goodreads friend JuJu (Julie). Thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for this ARC.

  • megs_bookrack

    With dreams of a less complicated life, Helen and Nate decide to uproot from urban-CT and move 'out to the country'. Using money Helen recently inherited after her father's passing, they make a plan to start over and build a new home with their own hands.

    Ultimately, they decide on a large plot of land in rural-Vermont with a rich history. Leaving their cushy CT-lives behind, they move into an old trailer

    With dreams of a less complicated life, Helen and Nate decide to uproot from urban-CT and move 'out to the country'. Using money Helen recently inherited after her father's passing, they make a plan to start over and build a new home with their own hands.

    Ultimately, they decide on a large plot of land in rural-Vermont with a rich history. Leaving their cushy CT-lives behind, they move into an old trailer on the new property and commence building their dream home.

    Olive, a young girl, and new neighbor to Helen and Nate, is missing her Mom, who left home one night and never returned. Rumor has it that she ran off with a man she was having an affair with but Olive doesn't believe it. Acting out and skipping school, Olive is on a direct path to nowhere, if someone doesn't step intervene.

    As with

    , McMahon has blended perfectly past and present into this story. In addition to the main storyline, described above, we also learn about some characters from the past who have deep connections to Helen and Nate's land. The way that all of these storylines are woven together and ultimately connect is seamless.

    McMahon has such a haunting way of writing. There is an overriding sinister ambiance to her work that makes them an absolute joy to read. She adds just the right amount of chilling atmosphere and occult references to give her stories a genuine feel without being gaudy or overdone.

    Some of the plot elements I found were a little too easy to figure out, too simplified, if you will, which is why I decided on a 4.5-star rating as opposed to a full 5-stars. That is totally my opinion however and I can understand why people would give it a higher, or even a lower, rating. For me, this ghost story with a twist was highly entertaining and that is what I am basing my rating on.

    McMahon has quickly become an autobuy author for me. I feel like people are definitely going to love this one. Get your hands on it, people! Releasing next month!!!

    A big thank you to the publisher, Doubleday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and are review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more from McMahon in the future!

  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    In the very beginning of the story, Hattie Breckenridge is hung for being a witch.

    Nate and Emily decide that they want to build a house in Vermount. The plot of land that they purchase is haunted. They then learn that Hattie use to live on the land that they purchased a century ago near the Bog. Then things get really interesting. Helen doesn't know it but she ends up building a haunted house from sctatch. Then strange things start happening.

    Helen also finds out about the tragic lives of Halli

    In the very beginning of the story, Hattie Breckenridge is hung for being a witch.

    Nate and Emily decide that they want to build a house in Vermount. The plot of land that they purchase is haunted. They then learn that Hattie use to live on the land that they purchased a century ago near the Bog. Then things get really interesting. Helen doesn't know it but she ends up building a haunted house from sctatch. Then strange things start happening.

    Helen also finds out about the tragic lives of Hallie's descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died amidst suspicion.

    Then Olive, a 14 year old girl, tried to find her mother who disappeared without a trace. She lives with her father and they are both grieving. Before her mother died she told her that there was a hidden treasure somewhere in the woods that borders the bog. Olive then is on a search

    to find the treasure.

    A chilling gothic ghost story with a twist which was not scary but very creepy and it did give me goose bumps. It's also a thriller and a mystery.

    I was immediately drawn into the story, since I loved the atmosphere and the supernatural eerie world of this book. The book goes back and forth from the past to the present. There are dark secrets that are slowly revealed. The book kept me in suspense to find out what was going to happen next.

    I thought this was a character driven novel. They were very well developed. My favorite character was Olive. I loved the writing style which had short chapters. I found it to be an addicting read.

    I recently read The Winter People and loved that book too. I already downloaded The Night Sister, by this author and can't wait to read it. I just want more from this author.

    I think you will love this if you like a good ghost story that then changed into a thriller.

    This was a Traveling Sister Read and a lot of us enjoyed it a lot. It made a great group read.

    I want to thank Netgalley, DoubleDay/Random House and Jennifer McMahon for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Tucker

    This book is nothing short of astounding.

    If you've been following me for a while (or even for a week or two), then you know that I love horror. I love reading every single word and letting it sink in. I love the heart pounding, fear I get when I read scary books. Of course, if you know me in real life, you know that I am a big scaredy cat. I hate dark places, tight spaces and scary situations. So why, would I like horror books? Mostly because I can control the situation. When I'm reading, I kno

    This book is nothing short of astounding.

    If you've been following me for a while (or even for a week or two), then you know that I love horror. I love reading every single word and letting it sink in. I love the heart pounding, fear I get when I read scary books. Of course, if you know me in real life, you know that I am a big scaredy cat. I hate dark places, tight spaces and scary situations. So why, would I like horror books? Mostly because I can control the situation. When I'm reading, I know what I'm reading isn't real and that I can always shut the book.

    One thing most horror authors (*cough* Stephen King *cough*), is have a very subtle slow build of horror. As a person who has ADHD and a very short attention span, I need my books to be fast paced. And this book kind of was? I mean it would go a few chapters being super exciting and then for a chapter or two it would get a bit boring. At least, it was able to correct the pacing pretty often.

    A common horror trope is no one believes the protagonist. I was a bit disappointed that for a while, no one would believe Helen. Another common trope is when partners slowly become distanced and angry at each other. That happened and it was heartbreaking to read.

    On the note of boring-ness, I really enjoyed all of Helen's chapters and the sprinkled-in POV of Jane and Ann but I really did not enjoy Olive's chapters. I found them really boring. Maybe it was because Olive just never clicked. I really didn't find myself caring about her or her story.

    Something a couple of horror novels have done is discrediting the paranormal activity. For example, the ghost isn't a ghost, it's an animal. I really loved that none of the paranormal activity was ever discredited by Helen. She was a believer to the end.

    Finally, I was a big fan of that plot twist. Obviously, I won't spoil it but trust me. You want to read this book if only for that kind boggling twist.

    Bottom Line:

    4.5 Stars

    Age Recommendation: 14+ (Scary themes, abuse, murder)

    TW: Sexual abuse, Murder, Use of the word F*ck & Cr*zy

    Plot: 4/5

    Cover: 2/5

    Characters: 3.5/5

    ******

    Whoa.

    *******

    This was one of the five ARCs I received today 😂😂

    I can't wait to read it!

  • Carol

  • Diane S ☔

    One doesn't always need to move into a house that is haunted, sometimes even building new the land itself could be taunted. This is what happens in the Vermont woods, when Helen and Nate leave their jobs, taking Helen's inheritance, to build a new house. What they didn't know was that this spot was the place of an horrific injustice, and a lost treasure. It soon become clear that they are not alone, and that someone wants something from the m.

    I love how this author puts her stories together, out

    One doesn't always need to move into a house that is haunted, sometimes even building new the land itself could be taunted. This is what happens in the Vermont woods, when Helen and Nate leave their jobs, taking Helen's inheritance, to build a new house. What they didn't know was that this spot was the place of an horrific injustice, and a lost treasure. It soon become clear that they are not alone, and that someone wants something from the m.

    I love how this author puts her stories together, outwordly happenings mixed with human greed. Although some of this was predictable, other parts weren't, and the ghostly vibes kept me reading. The past is never completely past, not in a person's mind and maybe the spirit world can reach out and attach itself to familiar things. At least this author makes it seem possible. She always gives the reader someone to root for, and in this one it is a you g girl who needs some answers to some very serious questions. At the end one can't help but thinking that the humans are scarier than the ghosts. Or at least their motives less than pure. This was just spooky enough for this reader.

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