Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde PilcherThe picking up of this book was inspired by a post by Boof of The Book Whisperer. She is doing a series of Christmas posts to get us bloggers in the Christmas mood, and while I’d been shouting Humbug! in most of my comments to her posts, when she posted a whole list of books about Christmas, I caved in.

So, one of the books on her list was this one, and it was available in the library (not many of them were, so I was steered towards this one quite naturally).

Winter Solstice: What it is about

Several unrelated, or barely related, people end up in a house in Scotland where they spend Christmas. The book leads up to Christmas but isn’t too Christmas-y (if you’d want to read it in the summer, you’d be fine).

Elfrida, a former London actress in her sixties, is living in a quiet town in the countryside where she befriends Oscar, a retired organist. Carrie is Alfrida’s second cousin and has just returned from Austria where she worked in the ski business. She is worried about her niece Lucy, who is being neglected by her mother and grandmother. She hopes to find a place to live in London so she can keep an eye on Lucy.

Then there is Sam, a successful businessman who relocated from New York to Scotland, where he is to resurrect a failing textile business.

All of them have their own needs and sorrows but with the help of others, life for them is much better at the end of the book, than it was earlier on.

Winter Solstice: What I Thought

This was my first book by Pilcher and I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got (I think) was Maeve Binchy, and yes, I like Maeve Binchy (or at least, I used to – I haven’t read anything by her for a few years)! So, this is women’s fiction that is full of warm-hearted relationships and people caring for each other. It’s nice if not completely realistic.

It is an ideal book to read when you’re sitting by the fire and have all the time of the world to immerse yourself into a nice story. I would not suggest it as a beach read, but it is not a book that you’d solely appreciate around Christmas, for sure.

The writing is fluent but I didn’t need the repeat of some of the story that happened regularly: one character had experienced something (while the reader is watching) and then relates the story quite in detail to another person. So the reader gets the story twice. This often happens in reality (you experience something and you tell someone else or, you hear a story from X, then Y comes in and X tells the story again). In the books that I usually read this repeat of story does not happen, or it’s done in one sentence or so. I didn’t mind it too much but found it unnecessary.

I also thought there were some unlikely situations in the story. Without giving away much of the story, a pensioner in his late 60s gets the advice to go to an old people’s home (which he doesn’t want to follow up). Come on! Late 60s! So he was fit for work until just a few years ago and then he’d be put away in an old people’s home? No. The point is, no one ever said that this was a ridiculous suggestion because of his young age. They just didn’t like the idea for other reasons.

Also, a teenager goes Christmas shopping in the local vicinity, where there aren’t that many shops, while two other people from her household go to the big town to do their shopping. The teenager would have wanted to come along, I’m sure! But I guess the author wanted the two people to be on their own (because of where the story was going) so she send them away with the teenager not even questioning the situation.

If you can look past these types of issues, then you’ve got a really nice story.

Rating: 3.5/5

I got this book: from the ilbrary

I read this in: Dutch, English is the original language

Number of pages: 448

First published: 2000

Genre: women’s fiction, contemporary fiction


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

8 Responses to Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

  1. Mystica says:

    Definitely a miss!

  2. Nadine Nys says:

    Not anything I want to read, I think.

  3. Ahh, I’m so glad you caved and read something from the list 😉

    Hope you had a great Christmas afterall, Judith, and managed to get to the in-laws OK?

  4. Okay, I haven’t read this one, but I think I’ll pass…it does sound a bit like a movie I saw a few years ago, except the relationships were different. But sometimes that happens with film…changing things around.

    The movie was pretty good.

    I would definitely object to an “old people’s home” for someone in their late sixties, because, for one thing, I’d be shunted out the door right now! LOL

  5. Bill Mayo says:

    Is this story continued in a later book? I enjoyed the story but felt Christmas day and later would a joy to read.

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