The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy
**I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review**
3 ½ stars
When Salome Montgomery fell through the ice of the pond behind her grandparents’ house at the age of 6 and almost lost her life, she was permanently scarred and completely terrified of winter. And now, 11 years later, she is still trying to convince herself that what happened that day – more specifically, who saved her and the voices she hears during the winter months are nothing but an illusion brought on by her childhood trauma.
Thought of as a freak to everyone accept her best-friend Kadie, she tried to just get along in life – without a social life, or boyfriends, or being in the popular crowd. That is until Colton – the captain of the basketball team – asks her out. He seems to really try to understand her “quirks” and fears about wintertime, and she is oddly drawn to him. But when her grandparents are forced to spend the winter in Arizona, due to her grandfather’s health issues, it leaves her to care for their home. And the woods and pond around their home brings up the memory of the day she almost drown and the voice she heard that lured her there.
Faced with the long winter of filling the animal feeders at her grandparents, she also has to place a “trinket” in the trunk of an oak tree, entwine some rowan wood in the fence, and most importantly, keep the gate locked. Salome thinks it crazy, but she is obedient to her grandmother’s instructions. She continues trying to overcome her fears, and along the way she meets a barista named Gareth that makes her weak in the knees, and a mysterious stranger at her grandparents one afternoon while completing her daily chores, named Nevin, who makes her heartbeat quicken.
She feels a strange pull from each guy, but when things start getting really weird for Salome – the voices get more frequent and a starts hunting her and trying to harm her – she begins wondering who she should turn to. Who can help her – Nevin, Colton, or Gareth…and what will their help cost her? With so much uncertainty, will Salome make it through this winter with her life, or be another sacrifice to the secret curse that has plagued her family for centuries?
Starting out, Salome feels like she weak – weak minded and really naïve, which never really changes throughout the story. She relies on someone else through her whole story – whether it’s one of the gentlemen in the story, her best-friend Kadie , her mother, or her grandmother…it never really feels like she comes into her own. And it’s never really explained how Salome finds information on the curse and how to possibly break it, but somehow Salome all of a sudden just knows – and all the main characters just happen to be in the same vicinity when she figures it out…? I loved the premise of the story, but it fell a little flat for me. I would have loved to have seen Salome become stronger on her own, before the very last few pages.