WINTER STREET takes place in author Elin Hilderbrand’s beloved Nantucket, where the Quinn family owns and manages the Winter Street Inn. She creates great detail about each family member’s ups and downs, sadness and dysfunction.
Margaret Quinn’s career takes off as a news anchor for CBS. Her celebrity and position take her around the world, and her relationship with husband Kelley fails. Their children --- Patrick, Kevin and Ava --- are young when they divorce, and they decide that Kelley should have custody.
Margaret never remarries, but Kelley weds Mitzi, aka “Mitzi the ditzy.” They are together for 12 years, living in and running the Winter Street Inn. They have a son together named Bart, who is a bit of a hellion and gets into a lot of trouble with drinking, drugs and smashing three cars by the age of 17. After graduating high school, he enlists in the Marines and is stationed in Afghanistan. Patrick, Kevin and Ava are now grown adults and have their own lives, though Kevin and Ava still live at the Inn.
Patrick, the oldest Quinn child, is married to Jen, and they have three boys. He is a hedge fund manager and gets involved in making a bad decision investing $25.6 million of his clients’ money. The Compliance Department and the Feds are now looking at his shady business dealings. When he tells his wife of his wrongdoing, she takes off with the boys and goes to her parents’ house in San Francisco instead of heading to Nantucket with him for Christmas. He’s so miserable that he turns to booze and Vicodin. Hilderbrand makes the reader feel so sorry for him, even though he has done the wrong thing.
"WINTER STREET is a hilarious page-turner. The author nails it when Ava asks, 'Does anyone have the Manual for How to Deal with Completely Screwed-Up Family Situations?' Never one to disappoint her readers, Hilderbrand has produced yet another classic novel."
Kevin, the middle child, is a bartender. He fell head over heels in love with and married Norah Vale when they were young. They divorced, she broke his heart, and he vowed never to get involved with another woman again. However, he’s now in a secret relationship with the French housekeeper at the Inn, Isabelle, who captures his heart. She’s pregnant with his child, and he wants to marry her. Isabelle brings out the best in Kevin, and Hilderbrand makes their relationship seem quite comfortable.
Ava, the youngest, is a well-rounded young woman who is a school teacher, and has been involved in a relationship with Nathaniel Oscar for two years. Nathaniel has no interest in committing to her, which is painfully obvious. Scott Skyler, the assistant principal of the school, has been madly in love with Ava, but there is nothing (no sparks fly for her) when it comes to him. Despite this tricky love triangle, Ava is a strong woman.
Christmas is approaching, and there is much to be done since the family throws a huge Christmas Eve party every year. Mitzi is always engaged in planning it, and she even dresses up as Mrs. Claus. The day of the party, Kelley walks into Room 10 and sees a couple kissing passionately. He’s in for the biggest shock of his life --- it’s Mitzi and George, a family friend who dresses up as their Santa Claus each year. Mitzi announces that she’s leaving, and her things are packed and ready to go. She had been contemplating splitting with Kelley for a while. In fact, she and George have been going at it ever since they have been married --- the entire 12 years! No wonder she’s never in the mood for sex at Christmas. Kelley is bummed and goes into a tailspin.
With Kelley being out-of-sorts and posting on Facebook that the Christmas party is canceled, Ava manages to save the day. She asks Scott to play Santa, Isabelle assumes the role of Mrs. Santa, she and Isabelle handle all the food preparation, and Kevin is in charge of the wines and spirits. Ava tries to play matchmaker between Scott and Isabelle, but when she sees them playing Mr. and Mrs. Claus, jealousy pangs hit her. Maybe she does have feelings for Scott!
Meanwhile, Margaret has some vacation time and is spending Christmas in Hawaii. Being privy to first-hand news, she’s alerted that 44 soldiers have gone missing. In her gut, she feels that Bart is one of them. Still, she decides to fly to Nantucket as she feels Kelley may need her. No one knows she’s at the Inn until Christmas morning when she walks into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Kelley is so happy to see her, and sparks begin to fly between them again. Their grown children are wondering what the heck is going on between these two sneaking around on Christmas Day. Hilderbrand made me laugh here.
WINTER STREET is a hilarious page-turner. The author nails it when Ava asks, “Does anyone have the Manual for How to Deal with Completely Screwed-Up Family Situations?” Never one to disappoint her readers, Hilderbrand has produced yet another classic novel.
Reviewed by Vivian Payton on October 30, 2014
- Publication Date: October 14, 2014
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- ISBN-10: 0316376116
- ISBN-13: 9780316376112