This is my third (of three) Cat Winter's novels. She writes a sort of magical realism crossed with historical YA fiction that I absolutely love.
The Uninvited is written for a slightly more mature audience, and treads some familiar ground, returning to the Spanish flu pandemic and WWI. The novel's main character, Ivy Rowan is one of the Rowan women, and the Rowan women are able to see ghosts, uninvited entrants into their world as harbingers of death.
I'll be honest, I was underwhelmed by The Uninvited for the first 40% or so. Ivy is emotionally repressed to the point of occasionally feeling almost catatonic. She has retreated into herself and her home following a terrible incident where her father has assaulted one of her brothers. She calls herself Wendy Darling, and makes reference at various time throughout the book to the fact that Wendy has failed her brothers, one of whom has died overseas fighting in the war.
The first part of the book involves her decision to move out after her father and brother have murdered a German immigrant in a fit of patriotic fury (this book makes reference to the Robert Prager incident, of which I was previously unaware, where a German coalminer was lynched by a mob during WWI. His murderers were all acquitted. You can read the basics on wikipedia, here. It is not for the faint of heart). It is this incident that impells her exit into the wider world, and that forms the backbone of the story.
One of the things that I love about Cat Winters is that she takes a literary motif or a theme and weaves it into her books like a fragment of melody that the ear catches on the air. In The Cure for Dreaming, it was Dracula. In The Uninvited, it is Peter Pan and the poetry of Emily Dickenson, both of which she uses effectively.
Somewhere around the 40% mark, this book took hold of me and held me firmly to the end. And what an end. Almost unbearably tender, the conclusion of Ivy's story, and that of her beloved Daniel is revealed to the reader. I am not a person who easily cries over fiction, and this book made me cry.
No one escaped from this era entirely unscathed.
Anyway, I highly recommend giving Cat Winters a try. She has sold me completely on her talent and her voice, and this book was tragic and beautiful.