Book Review: ‘The Invited’ by Jennifer McMahon

Over the past few years Jennifer McMahon has solidly cemented herself as one of the best authors in horror. She has a knack for beautifully crafting supernatural tales which will keep any reader on the edge of their seat. Her most recent output the Invited is no invitedifferent. In this novel a young couple, Helen and Nate, purchase a piece of rural property with the dream of building a new home on the site. However Helen learns that in the early 20th century a woman named Hattie, who was believed to be a witch owned the property and was lynched by the community. It is not long before the spirit of Hattie begins to make herself known to the newcomers to her land. The young couple is reluctantly aided in their project by their teenage neighbor Olive, who is searching for a treasure which is supposedly on the property, as well as her hip aunt Riley. As the supernatural presence on the property becomes more powerful Helen becomes more obsessed with what happened to Hattie as well as tracing her family line, discovering something which could have grave ramifications for herself and those around her.

Jennifer McMahon proves once again that she has mastered the ability to craft a complex supernatural mystery. With the Invited, things start off simple enough with Helen and her husband purchasing a haunted piece of property, but as the story moves forward we learn new elements which makes things far more interesting. Of course none of this would matter if the characters in the books did not endear themselves to the reader, luckily each person in this story is perfectly well-rounded with both good and bad qualities, make them believable and likable. In particular the character of Helen will draw you in. She is a dyed in the wool history fiend and once she learns that her new property is haunted by an accused witch nothing can stop her from digging in. Her research takes her from the local library to a cult spiritual group in town as she pieces together a story and a legacy nobody has noticed before. 

In a story with multiple plot lines and characters, McMahon keeps everything balanced and ties everything together nicely and in unexpected ways. If you are looking for an engaging and eerie read I highly recommend adding the Invited to your reading list.