Book Title and Author: Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
Series: Winter Street #4
Publication Date and Publisher: October 3, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Fiction, Holiday, Women’s Fiction
Pages: 262 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: November 25, 2017 (ARC-Netgalley)
Raise one last glass with the Quinn Family at the Winter Street Inn.
It’s been too long since the entire Quinn family has been able to celebrate the holidays under the same roof, but that’s about to change. With Bart back safe and sound from Afghanistan, the Quinns are preparing for a holiday more joyous than any they’ve experienced in years. And Bart’s safe return isn’t the family’s only good news: Kevin is enjoying married life with Isabelle; Patrick is getting back on his feet after paying his debt to society; Ava thinks she’s finally found the love of her life; and Kelley is thrilled to see his family reunited at last. But it just wouldn’t be a Quinn family gathering if things went smoothly. A celebration of everything we love–and some of the things we endure–about the holidays, WINTER SOLSTICE is Elin Hilderbrand at her festive best.
Elin Hilderbrand might be the queen of the beach read, but she has proven with her Winter Street series that she can write lovely, heartwarming, captivating holiday novels with a cast of memorable, empathetic, warm characters that are just as wonderful! Actually, I think her Winter Street series might be my favorite of all her books. I was thrilled when I found out she was writing book 4 to add to the trilogy since I still had questions after reading Winter Storms (book 3 in the trilogy), and I selfishly just wanted to spend more time with the Quinn family, imagine the inn all decked out for Christmas, pretend Ava is playing and singing Christmas carols (except for Jingle Bells!), and feel the warmth and love of this family encompass me once more during this time of year!
I want to say that although you can read Winter Solstice by itself, I do recommend that you read the first three books in the series first-Winter Street, Winter Stroll, and Winter Storms! You won’t regret it, and you will get all the backstory you need to make sure you understand everything about Kelley and Mitzi, Margaret (Kelley’s ex-wife), Ava, Patrick, and Kevin (Kelley and Margaret’s children), and Bart (Kelley and Mitzi’s son). The 1st three books are such wonderful reads that you will definitely want to add them to your holiday book collection too!
Winter Solstice begins not long after Winter Storms ends, and we find out how each member of the Quinn family is doing since we last spent time with them. Since I’ve spent the last three holidays with the family, it was like reconnecting with old friends. These are far from perfect characters, and they have all certainly had their share of dramas, troubles, and squabbles, but I think that is one reason why I have loved this series so much. They are like a real family, and it is their love, warmth, hope, forgiveness, and faith for and in one another that has shone forth in every novel. That was especially true and poignant in Winter Solstice as the family prepares to say their own final, so sad goodbye to one of their own family members (I needed my box of tissues!), but I’m not going to say anything more about that since I don’t want to spoil the who that person is for anyone who hasn’t read the books.
The book introduces some new characters into the series as cameos although if you’ve read The Rumor then you’ll already be familiar with “Fast Eddie,” his wife Grace, and twin daughters Allegra and Hope (who makes an appearance in name only)! The Rumor is one of my favorite of Hilderbrand’s beach reads, so it was fun to see where the Pancik family is now, and their storyline blended so seamlessly into the parts Hilderbrand wove them that I almost felt like they had been part of the Winter Street stories all along. It must have been the Nantucket magic working its charm although in truth it was Hilderbrand’s magical way with prose! I know every time I read one of Hilderbrand’s books I feel transported on Nantucket because she makes you feel like you are right there on the island with the way she brings it alive with her words but more so this time around…maybe it was holiday magic at work too!
One of my favorite things about this novel was it focuses on Bart, who was a United States Marine held as a POW during the 1st three books, so this time we learn all about him and of his difficulties readjusting to civilian life…and some unexpected love that comes his way! I’d felt a little letdown after book 3 that even though I was terribly glad Bart was finally back safely from Afghanistan, that the reader got such a short time with his character, so book 4 definitely more than made up for that!
Honestly, I was both achingly sad and happy reading this final goodbye, but this really was a fabulous yet apt and bittersweet conclusion to the series! However, be ready to shed plenty of tears because you can’t say a final farewell to this wonderful family without crying because the ending is highly emotional and well, you’re saying bye again although there are plenty of shared laughs to be had along the way!
Thank you, Quinn family, and Ms. Hilderbrand, for all the laughter and tears, as well as all the lessons about family, love, and friendship in Winter Solstice, as well as over the past 3 years. I highly recommend reading this lovely, heartwarming, yet tearful read while curled up in front of a roaring fire, sipping on hot cocoa like I did!
**Thank you, NetGalley, Little, Brown and Co., and Elin Hilderbrand for an ARC in exchange for my honest and fair review. **