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Winter Solstice Paperback – January 3, 2017
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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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Top Customer Reviews
Pilcher takes time at the beginning of the book to introduce us to the main characters one by one, giving us the background stories needed to fully appreciate the significance of each individual. The book is delightfully cozy and happy, but it is so because you understand the pain and heartache each person brings to the Christmas season and with this understanding rejoice as heartache is soothed with love and friendship and celebration.
The story follows the lives of Oscar, a new widower devastated by the loss of his wife and young daughter and now homeless, and Elfrida, an older actress with no attachments who drops everything to take Oscar to Scotland for Christmas. Through a series of events they are joined in Scotland by Elfrida’s neice and great-niece who have no other place to celebrate the holidays. A snowstorm brings one more person into the mix for the holiday week. As the story unfolds we are introduced to the idyllic town of Creagan and its inhabitants which include Mrs. Snead (the housekeeper), her husband, and Peter Kennedy (the minister) and his family. Interactions and growing friendships with these, and others, help to bring about a feeling of true community as well as ideas and support for solving the imminent question of what the future holds for each person in the house after Christmas is over.
Pilcher, a well-known English-born writer, has lived in Scotland much of her life. Her intimate knowledge of the countryside comes through in her writings. Many of the places in this book are based on real Scottish towns and buildings.
It is often difficult to find a truly well-written, satisfying Christmas story. Winter Solstice is a treasure of a book and the perfect antidote to the stress of the Christmas season.
Travel Notes: Inverness Tours offers a Rosamunde Pilcher Winter Solstice tour in which you can travel to see the principal towns and villages in this book. Otherwise, it is helpful to know that Tain is the real name for Kingsferry (shopping town in the book), Skibo Castle is the basis for Corrydale (ancestral home in the book), and Dornoch is the town on which Pilcher based Creagan (the Scottish setting for Winter Solstice)
Elfrida Phipps made her living as a stage actress. Not a famous actress or even (perhaps) a particularly talented one, but it paid the rent. Now that she’s reached retirement age she’s decided to move away from London and buys herself a tiny cottage in a small country village. End of story, right? Hardly; it’s just the beginning of Elfrida’s ‘second act’.
The bulk of the story takes place just before Christmas, in the north of Scotland where Elfrida is ensconced in a stately old manor house. She’s joined there by a mix of family and almost-strangers, none of them looking forward to the holidays. But a funny thing happens – this holiday that they’d all been dreading (each for different reasons), ends up becoming a celebration of healing and starting over.
“Winter Solstice” is not, in my opinion, Rosamunde Pilcher’s best novel. The dialog often has a very scripted feel to it, especially when it involves the teen-age characters. Now normally awkward dialog is the kiss of death for any book I happen to be holding in my picky little hands, but not so with this one. The central themes of this story – healing, starting over, second chances – are so powerful and appealing that I can’t help but adore the book. The author draws you into the story with such succinct and vivid descriptions of the places and the people; everything comes to life on the page. The emotions that these characters are experiencing are bound to resonate with almost everyone, and the overall hopeful feeling that pervades the story makes it a wonderful book to pick up if you’re in the mood for something uplifting and life-affirming. Just lovely, *sigh*.
No strong language (that I recall) and no sexual content.
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