The Uninvited by Cat Winters
Expected Publication: 11 August 2015 by William Morrow
Genre/s: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher for review
Find it online: Goodreads ~ Amazon
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.
There are three very specific reasons why I wanted to read The Uninvited:
1) I fell in love with Cat Winters’ writing when I read In the Shadow of Blackbirds
2) It’s historical fiction which I adore.
3) It’s set during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.
The very first thing I realised when I started reading, is that The Uninvited is in fact an adult novel – not a Young Adult novel, with the main character, Ivy, being in her mid-twenties. But to me that’s neither here nor there, plus I was curious to see how Winters transitioned to adult novels, this being her first. The next thing I realised is that I was instantly comfortable reading The Uninvited – it had the same lyrical, ethereal style that I had enjoyed so much when reading In the Shadow of Blackbirds.
As a main character, Ivy is far more complicated than she first appears – she’s isolated from the outside world, and yet incredibly loyal to her mother, almost assuming a motherly role herself with everyone she meets during the course of the novel. However, she’s quite headstrong and determined, and throws herself into everything with all of her heart, including a new and unlikely relationship.
The Uninvited is also far more focused on Ivy, and the historical fiction elements than the paranormal elements that the synopsis eludes to – and that’s probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed The Uninvited so much – the ghosts that Ivy sees are there in key moments throughout the plot, but they aren’t as prominent as I had expected.
There is a lot more I want to say about The Uninvited, but as the synopsis doesn’t really go into much detail about some of the aspects that I really liked, I’m a bit hesitant to ruin the surprise for anyone else that reads it, but it is a book that I highly recommend to readers of historical fiction – the writing is beautiful, I lost myself in this book constantly, and THINGS happen that I really hadn’t anticipated. Unexpected, captivating and a wonderful mixture of things that I love, The Uninvited definitely lived up to my lofty expectations.