*3 out of 5*
Though my first time reading Jennifer McMahon wasn’t a particularly strong or mind-blowing experience, I still plan to read more of her work down the road. I just want to start off by saying that.
The thing is I enjoyed McMahon’s writing. She’s good with drama and words. However, the pacing of this novel was too slow for the first, well, three hundred pages. There was too little excitement to keep me reading for more than a few pages at a time. As a result, I think it took me a couple weeks to get through this one. Luckily, the final hundred pages really picked things up, leaving me satisfied in the end.
But here’s the big problem I had – even with inheritance money to finance the construction of a new home in a new state, I had trouble believing two teachers were able to build a freaking house without enlisting contractors or professionals. Not only that, but they enlist the help of a teenager and her aunt at times, as if that would make up the difference – but neither of them are builders either! Putting a house together is not that easy! And what was sillier was how much the husband scoffed at them putting together an unplanned chimney, as if that was far more difficult than piping or measuring or anything else you do when building a house. By comparison, a chimney seems easy.
There were also times where the two would bicker or be upset with one another for spending too much money on things, despite being hypocritical. For example, Nate doesn’t bat an eye when Helen drops $600+ for an old sink, but then she gets angry when Nate spends a hundred dollars on a surveillance camera. Things like that that drove me crazy. The two of them seemed inconsistent in what constituted a smart purchase and what did not. It was bothersome enough that I felt the need to note it here.
Ultimately, McMahon had a good story to tell here, but she could have done it in half the time. This novel really needed to be streamlined. Otherwise, I was impressed enough by McMahon’s writing that I plan to check her out again. I hear The Winter People is quite exceptional.