Goodreads Rating: 3.78 Stars
William Morrow Publishing
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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.
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Quick Reasons: LOVE the paranormal aspect of this book; I caught on to the “big reveal” but this didn’t change my enjoyment of the book; all the secrets come together in a beautiful, heartbreaking crescendo; I love how much “girl power” the MC spouts off; as always, Cat Winters blew me away
“One of my brothers just lost his life in France, though, and my family is … um …” I braced my hands on my hips. “Well, we’re not doing well. I’ve decided to head out into the world and live my own life now. Sort of”— I forced a smile to my face—“ burst out of my cocoon, so to speak.”
May merely blinked in response at first, but then she arched a dark eyebrow and said, “You picked one hell of a time to spread your wings, little butterfly.”
If I had to choose a favorite Cat Winters novel right this second, I’d pick this one of those I’ve read (which, admittedly, are only two so far. Don’t worry, though—I intend to fix this!) Regardless, of the two I’ve read, THIS ONE is my favorite… And I’m pretty sure the paranormal aspect had a LOT to do with this, if I’m being honest.
Cat Winters, from what I’ve read, blends the historically accurate with her own flair for poltergeists…and this one answered so many more questions about the WHY and the HOW of this weird in-between world than I felt the last one I read by her did. In fact, this book is all about the why and the how of ghosts—especially in Ivy’s world. I had a ton of fun watching as Ivy “spread her wings” and found her own way to fly amidst the griefs and struggles of the town, in the midst of the Spanish Influenza… In the midst of everything she faces throughout. Ivy is a warrior, and I enjoyed watching her don her battle axe to take charge of her own life. The plot is, while not necessarily “action-packed,” still quick-moving and often surprising in its direction. Each page kept me enthralled, on the edge of my seat, needing to know what happened next. Needing to know what was lying just around the bend.
Nela lowered her face. “I’m just a stupid woman, Ivy. And a foreigner at that.”
“Poppycock!— as my granny Letty would have said.” I raised my chin. “I’ve been driving my family’s trucks and tractors since I was fifteen years old, and not once did my womb or my breasts get in the way of steering and braking.”
The characters found throughout are vibrant, strong-willed, and determined to live life to the fullest—which is something I think we tend to forget, in our lives today. Not everything’s a guarantee. Tomorrow isn’t always promised. There are so many other awesome, moral-driven moments in this book, I found my sense of self shifting and altering like the turning of the pages—often quickly, and without warning. The best sort of read, in other words—the kind that leaves readers not only thinking, but breathless with sudden epiphany.
There is, of course, romance at play…but MAHGOSH, the romance! I was rooting for these characters the entire way through. I did catch onto the “big reveal” at about the 70% mark—so about 15% sooner than the book was set up to tell us all about. This in no way altered my enjoyment of the read, though! I only had the vaguest of suspicions…and was conflicted, to be honest, between two or three different “plot twists” I thought might happen.
“But this is not the fantastical land of liberty that people portray in stories. The melting pot does nothing but scald and blister right now.”
Once again, Cat Winters has knocked my feet from under me and left me floundering. I really enjoyed watching the story blend the paranormal with the every day…and do it so beautifully. The plot twist, while I caught on at the 70% mark, I feel is still surprising enough that most readers will be caught unawares. I recommend to lovers of diverse reads, historical fiction, and ghostly hauntings. I can’t wait to dive into my next Cat Winters’ book; I’m sure I won’t be disappointed!