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Winter Solstice

Review

Winter Solstice

I was very happy to learn that Elin Hilderbrand decided to add a fourth book to her Winter Street series, WINTER SOLSTICE. I waited with great anticipation when it was announced that the final installment was coming. I couldn’t let go of the characters, and I wanted more. I fell in love with the Quinns because their family life is what real life is all about, especially with blended families, and I could relate to them. After all, what family isn’t dysfunctional?

Bart, the youngest of the Quinn sons and only child of Kelley and Mitzi, comes back home from Afghanistan after being a prisoner of war for two years. Since his return, the hardest thing for him to endure is knowing that his father is dying from brain cancer. Kelley is the patriarch of the Quinn family and owner of the Winter Street Inn. His time is limited, so the family makes the most of what he has left. Bart feels cheated that his brothers and sister had more time with him. He’s also contemplating what his future holds.

"Hilderbrand shines on the strengths and substance of this story, which is about family, love, courage and the will for life to go on. I knew there would be closure here, and she makes the reader feel at peace with the ending."

Mitzi, Kelley’s second wife, is having a difficult time knowing that she has to let him go and make future decisions about her life and the inn without him. Somehow, though, this family unites, especially at Christmas, which is always very special for the Quinns. It wouldn’t be normal if there wasn’t a family gathering that also welcomes their friends and guests of the inn. But this Christmas is different as Kelley is fading fast.

Although there are the usual dysfunction and family issues here, this story takes a more serious turn. With all the emotion that’s looming, Hilderbrand expertly wraps up each character’s life and summarizes what’s in store for them. Kelley and Margaret’s older children --- Patrick, Kevin and Ava --- are settling down. Patrick is out of jail for insider trading and is rebuilding a new business alongside his wife, Jennifer. They’ve had their ups and downs and financial struggles, but Jennifer is offered her own TV show as a successful interior designer. Kevin and Isabelle have their own business, and their family is growing. Ava finally finds her true love and is engaged to Potter. As for Margaret, it’s time to retire from anchoring the CBS News and face all the hardship she endured when she was first starting out and had to give up her family so that she could become successful.

We also revisit a few of the characters from Hilderbrand’s previous book, THE RUMOR, which I found very entertaining. Their storylines have importance, especially for Bart. This was a genius move on her part and adds reflection, making the reader feel satisfied.

Hilderbrand shines on the strengths and substance of this story, which is about family, love, courage and the will for life to go on. I knew there would be closure here, and she makes the reader feel at peace with the ending. As this is the conclusion to the Winter Street series, it would be beneficial to read the first three installments if you haven’t done so already. Once again, Hilderbrand is at her best, knocking it out of the park and bringing it home. She also demonstrates that she can write a heartfelt Christmas story. Not only is she the “queen of the summer read,” in WINTER SOLSTICE she proves that she also can be the queen of the holiday novel.

Reviewed by Vivian Payton on October 19, 2017

Winter Solstice
by Elin Hilderbrand

  • Publication Date: October 3, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316435457
  • ISBN-13: 9780316435451