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Winter Solstice Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 2001

481 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Rosamunde Pilcher's novel, despite its chilly setting, will warm the hearts of her growing army of loyal fans. Winter Solstice has all the familiar trademarks of a Pilcher saga, spun in her inimitable, homey, beguiling style. The story is told, chapter by chapter, from the perspectives of an eclectic array of characters. Former actress Elfrida--not very good by her own admission--leaves London for a geriatric bolthole in the country where she meets retired schoolmaster and organist, Oscar. Meanwhile, Carrie (Elfrida's second cousin), returns to London from Austria where she had a brilliant career in the tourist industry, only to find her niece, 14-year-old Lucy, sadly neglected by her selfish mother and equally spoiled grandmother. Finally, handsome Sam is recalled from New York by his company chairman to revive an ailing Scottish textile mill.

As one character after another must learn to live with their losses, they find themselves collectively spirited northwards, from Sussex to Scotland, by way of Cornwall. And, as events unfurl, slowly, surely, but inevitably, those in need find solace in unexpected places. While her characterizations are generally carefully crafted and entirely rounded, Pilcher's greatest strengths lie in her natural, easy narratives of everyday life and her thoroughly researched and captivating descriptions of scenery and surroundings. --Carey Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The author of The Shell Seekers has penned another romance sure to give fans the warm fuzzies, even though it's set in the north of Scotland in winter. Colorful Elfrida Phipps, 60-ish and single, has retired from a lifetime on the stage to a country retreat in Hampshire, England. There, she is befriended by Oscar and Gloria Blundell and their 12-year-old daughter, Francesca. Oscar, an organist, is somewhat older than his wife and the Blundells live in Gloria's family house. When Gloria and Francesca die in an automobile accident, Gloria's sons from a previous marriage inform Oscar that they are selling the property and he must leave. Elfrida persuades the grief-stricken, penniless Oscar to return to his childhood haunt, Corrydale, in Creagan, Scotland. His grandmother's grand estate is now a hotel, but the former estate manager's house is vacant and still belongs to the family. With few ties herself, Elfrida moves with Oscar to Creagan, where he plans to escape the upcoming Christmas festivities and the sad memories they will arouse. A distant relative of Elfrida's is also looking for a quiet place to spend the holidays. Beautiful, stylish 30-year-old Carrie Sutton is escaping a painful love affair. She has rescued her 14-year-old niece, Lucy, from Lucy's neglectful mother and grandmother, and the two seek asylum with Elfrida and Oscar. When handsome, successful, separated Sam Howard knocks on their homey door in a snowstorm, there is nothing to be done but invite him to stay, and the five souls from three generations find Christmas isn't so sad, after all. As her devoted readers have learned to expect, Pilcher's fond descriptions of domestic detail and her atmospheric evocation of the Scottish landscape add substance to a predictable but heartwarming plot. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate; Reader's Digest Select Edition; audio rights to Random House. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1st edition (May 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312978383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312978389
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (481 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Mamalinde on September 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once again Ms. Pilcher weaves a magical tale of ordinary folks. Good humored and caring, she introduces us to five people from very different walks of life, creating a family-type unit to nurture and love each other. Oscar, Elfrida, Lucy, Sam & Carrie are handling issues of loss, tradegy, family breakdown, divorce, re-marriage, aging, financial woes and abandonment when they find themselves sharing The Estate House in a small village in Scotland at the holiday season. Pilcher's characters exhibit the richness and depth and character we've come to expect. The settings are lovingly set out, from the cozy village of Diblo to the wind blown Cornwall coast, to the lochs and mountains of Scotland. An adventure to crawl into, to dwell, to breathe, to cry and to hope. You will want to just reach into the book and hug these characters, they are so dear and so believable.
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Steele Agosta on September 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. A brief time, when darkness predominates. Yet in this brief time, Rosamund Pilcher has set a story filled with light and warmth.
The book is classic Pilcher, full of detail and texture, housed in quirky old buildings and peopled with obliging neighbors, wet dogs, unexpected guests and a cast of characters we can grow to love.
This is not a book to be rushed through. Don't read it in bits and pieces, wedged into stolen moments during lunch breaks or while waiting for your 11-year-old to finish soccer practice. Savor it. Sit in a comfy chair with a good reading light, have a nice restoring cup of tea and some biscuits at hand. (Okay, so here in the States we don't really have those kinds of biscuits - a good butter cookie will do.) Pace be damned. In fact, that's the whole thrust of the book - that these people are thrown together in a place and time that's out of their everyday world. They're forced to slow down, to wait, to exist in the here and now. And, by consequence, the few days they spend together make all the difference in their lives.
There is more than a story here. It's not just a collection of lovely descriptions, unique characters, and a touch of romance. There are so many things to enjoy - Elfrida, the aging actress who's not too old to fall in love, the unspoiled 14-year-old Lucy, gentle Oscar with whom you just begin to get a bit irritated until he finally takes action. That's the thing - there's a philosophy here, about living. About what makes every life and each day worthwhile. They will come on you unexpectedly, those moments in the book, and they are what makes this book, and others by Ms.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
At last, another book from this wonderful author. Elfrida joins the other strong, yet vulnerable characters that Ms. Pilcher created in her other books. As entrancing as the story line is her description of surroundings (even the weather). You really see the settings, you taste the food and feel the textures on each page. Her well fleshed characters are people you wished you knew, they have plausible histories and they develop quite satisfactorily in very interesting directions. It is lovely to read a book where characters are not limited in exploring their interests, drives and emotions by their ages. Although the plot's conflicts are resolved with no major surprises, the reader closes the book with regrets and the wish that the story could continue and the characters could move in next door.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on August 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After five long years waiting for the next Rosamunde Pilcher, Winter Solstice makes the wait worthwhile. The author has assembled a diverse group of sympathetic, wholly enchanting characters---just the kind we all want as our best friends. The aging but ageless Elfrida, the grief-stricken Oscar, the abandoned Lucy, the heartbroken Carrie, and the quintessential Renaissance man Sam are all brought together by circumstances to spend Christmas at an Estate House in Scotland.
Not only does Mrs. Pilcher give us memorable characters, but the description of the weather, the food, the preparations for Christmas, even the irrepressible mutt Horace make for one of the best reading experiences from this master story-teller.
This is truly a book that makes you sad to finish because you want it to go on forever and never leave these characters you have formed a bond with. I would rate it right up there with her masterpieces, The Shell Seekers and September.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful By TheReader23 on September 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
PLAIN & SIMPLE -- if you love Pilcher, you'll love this book. The Winter Solstice is considered to be the shortest day of the year. When reading a Pilcher book, it doesn't matter if the days are long or short because she will fill them with so much love and warmth that you'll be transported to the desired location in record time. While I'll admit that this book is not as good as Coming Home or The Shell Seekers, it has the same wonderful characters and wonderful descriptions that have become synonomous with Pilcher.
In this book, all roads lead to one destination -- in this case Corrydale, the Estate House in Northern Scotland. You'll have to read the book to find out how everyone ends up there, however. Pilcher introduces us to a bevy of characters -- 62 year old Elfrida Phipps, a retired actress who has just left London to seek quiet in a little cottage in Dibton in Hampshire; Gloria and Oscar Blundell, along with their daughter Francesca, who make Elfrida feel more than welcome in her new town; Carrie, who has just left Austria and a broken romance to begin anew; Carrie's niece Lucy who, as a teenager, stands in the way of her mother's new and exciting relatonship with her American boyfriend and, last but not least, Sam, originally from England, but has been working in America for the past few years. He has now been called back by his company to go to Scotland to bring a broken down textile mill back to life.
Somehow Pilcher manages to put all five of these characters together and the resulting effect will warm your heart. Through her descriptions, you'll feel like you're sitting in the house with them planning a Christmas holiday, while drinking tea the entire time. The more tea her characters drink, the more relaxed I become. I'm just sorry to hear that Pilcher has decided to retire but happy that I still have a few of her books that I've yet to read.
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