Jennifer McMahon is a favorite author of mine, because she writes "cozy horror" - books that will undoubtedly chill you, but nothing that will scar you for life. You can absolutely envision yourself slamming down one of her creepy tales while it gently rains outside and you drink cup after cup of hot tea. "The Children on the Hill" is no exception; it is lightly inspired by "Frankenstein" and while it has a few twists and moments of terror, on the whole it's more of a spooky ride than a gristly haunted house. It features dual timelines: one following Vi, a young woman whose grandmother takes in a mysterious and strange child from a psychiatric facility, and Lizzy, who is researching disappearances that have never been solved. How the two timelines connect is the primary mystery. I really enjoyed this book. It's easy to read, entertaining, and the plot moves quickly. Anyone who wants a fun thriller with a spooky bent would absolutely enjoy this book (as well as any of Jennifer McMahon's work).
—Whitney Sheppard, Snail Readers Circle
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.
1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.
Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.
Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they dream up ways to defeat all manner of monsters. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.
2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
“A must for psychological thriller fans” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.
About the Author
Jennifer McMahon is the author of ten novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Promise Not to Tell and The Winter People. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella. Visit her at Jennifer-McMahon.com or connect with her on Instagram @JenniferMcMahonWrites and Facebook @JenniferMcMahonBooks.
[A] stellar take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . . . McMahon keeps the reader wondering how much is real and how much is imagined. This is a must for psychological thriller fans.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“McMahon succeeds admirably in building real chills and a surprising twist, offering a satisfying addition to the Frankenstein-inspired oeuvre. Mary Shelley would give it two thumbs up.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“This modern take on Frankenstein has a delicious twist at the end. This novel is an all-nighter!” —LibraryReads, "April 2022 Hall of Fame"
“In a tightrope’s walk of suspense, The Children on the Hill asks the reader to consider the precarious nature of memory and the definition of the word ‘monster.’” —WBUR ARTery, "Spring Books Guide"
“I always show up for Jennifer McMahon. Her storytelling is tried and true. I don't want to miss her unique brand of suspense.” —LitReactor, "2022 Horror Your Do Not Want to Miss"