One of my favorite settings for a spooky novel is a hospital in the woods. The thought alone can keep you up at night. Add a story like the one Jennifer McMahon braids into the threads of the pages in The Children on the Hill and you are sure to find a reason to carry a flashlight with you in your backyard at night. The story, told in two time periods, weaves itself throughout your lungs and tugs until you gulp for air. Monsters hide in everyone. How do you escape them when you don't know where they are? — From Alison's picks
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying new 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 catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. 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 haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), 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"