Winter Solstice by Elin Hildebrand
Welcome to #12booksofChristmas Day 1! I'm starting off with the final book in a series I've come to love over the years by Elin Hildebrand.
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 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 Kelly 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.
I do not know what I am going to do now I have finished this series of novels. For the last 3 years I have read this lovely quartet of books. A couple of notes first. This is the 4th book in the the Winter series which have all featured in my #12booksofchristmas selections. I would strongly advise reading them in order. There is so much history and many links between the different characters, start at the beginning and savour this glorious series.
Next, this is a real tear-jerker dealing with end of life. Whilst this is beautifully and sensitively written, it will have you in tears and plenty. If this is any kind of trigger for you, then please be aware of this.
On with the review. Over the years, I have fallen in love with this family and their complicated lives, relationships, careers and family ties. I’ve rejoiced at births, new romances and marriages.
It was fascinating to read the interview at the end of the novel with Elin Hilderbrand and was surprised to learn that originally only one novel had been commissioned. Elin fell in love with her own characters and cheekily left the ending open. Two more books followed. (In Elin’s mind, this was always going to be a trilogy). Until the publishers got their own back by suggesting Elin writes the 4th in the trilogy. I’m glad she did.
We finally get to meet Bart! Bart’s presence has been almost ghostly in the first 3 novels as he was missing in action in Afghanistan. He has returned home and is struggling with PTSD, but then meets the beautiful Allegra. What follows is a touching love story. Sometimes you just know.
My favourite character remains Margaret. A news anchor and all-round rock for her family. Having taken the decision to retire, we see her embracing the end of her working life and navigating a new life.
The novel, as I’ve said earlier is a real tear-jerker. Kelley’s passing is written beautifully and there is a real sense of him letting go now his family is in a good place.
But it is the celebration of Christmas on Nantucket that makes this a real Christmas novel. Put on the hot chocolate, don your favourite Christmas socks and curl up with a mince-pie. Nantucket has got it’s best Christmas hat on and it has never looked better.