Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher: Book Review

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher Book Cover

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Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher Book Cover
Title: Winter Solstice
Content Warning: Grief, death of a child

My Review:

I read quite a few books by Rosamunde Pilcher when I was in my late teens and twenties but I haven’t read much of her work since then. But somehow I stumbled on this title when I was looking for Christmas-y books that weren’t too sentimental. That’s just not my taste. But Rosamunde Pilcher seemed like a safe bet.

And she was.

I absolutely love books about found families and this fit the bill. Sure, some characters are extended family but they don’t know each other very well. And they’re all delightful.

Recently bereaved Oscar’s grief, big heart, guilty conscience, and struggles to move forward felt real.

Exuberant, welcoming, spontaneous Elfrida was the friend/family member we all love.

Lucy was the unhappy, slightly neglected teenager who blossoms under tender care.

Sam and Carrie were heartbroken but caring career-types who needed the touch of metaphorical magic that Elfrida spreads around her.

The grief and loss were real and well-described but the most of it happened off-screen so that the book focuses more on hope and healing. There’s a touch of insta-love, which normally bothers me, but the two characters were so perfect together, I just didn’t care. I was pleased that, for the most part, romantic relationships were not really the point of the story; the building of this unique family unit took center stage. How refreshing!

Pilcher’s descriptions of Creagan, Scotland have me ready to jump on a plane and see this beautiful little seaside town for myself–though not in the depths of a frigid winter.

I highly recommend this if you love well-written stories about characters with real problems forging healthy relationships and caring for each other. It was just the thing for this time of year.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Rosamunde Pilcher, Winter Solstice (the basis for the TV movie) is the story of five unforgettable characters, lonely and haunted strangers who find love and loyalty as a reborn family of friends during the Christmas holidays.

Elfrida Phipps, once of London’s stage, moved to the English village of Dibton in hopes of making a new life for herself. Gradually she settled into the comfortable familiarity of village life—shopkeepers knowing her tastes, neighbors calling her by name—still she finds herself lonely.

Oscar Blundell gave up his life as a musician in order to marry Gloria. They have a beautiful daughter, Francesca, and it is only because of their little girl that Oscar views his sacrificed career as worthwhile.

Carrie returns from Austria at the end of an ill-fated affair with a married man to find her mother and sister sharing a home and squabbling endlessly. With Christmas approaching, Carrie agrees to look after her sister’s awkward and quiet teenage daughter, Lucy, so that her mother might enjoy a romantic fling in America.

Sam Howard is trying to pull his life back together after his wife has left him for another. He is without home and without roots, all he has is his job. Business takes him to northern Scotland, where he falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and set his sights on a house.

It is the strange rippling effects of a tragedy that will bring these five characters together in a large, neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan.

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  1. I read Winter Solstice earlier this year and gave it 5 stars. I actually started in December 21, 2021 and finished in early January. It was a perfect winter read! Now I’m reading Coming Home, which is also a wonderful book by Pilcher. Her attention to domestic detail makes for such lovely reading.

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