Book Review: Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
Series: Winter #4
on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Fiction, Holiday
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Set primarily on the charming island of Nantucket, Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter series follows the ups and downs of the Quinn family over the course of about four years. At the heart of this series is a strong focus on the importance of love, family, friendship, and loyalty, but there is also a healthy dose of drama so as to keep things from getting too saccharin-sweet. I binge-read this series this year as part of a holiday readathon and fell in love with the Quinn family right away. Everyone in the family is just so endearing and I became invested in all of them from the very first book in the series.
Winter Solstice is the fourth and final installment of the series, so much of this book is about saying goodbye to this family that readers have grown to love over the course of the previous books. The Winter series was actually originally intended to be trilogy. I thought the third book left too many things unresolved, however, so I was thrilled to find out a fourth book had been added to the series. I can’t say that I was ready to say goodbye to the Quinns yet, but I think Winter Solstice gives them the sendoff they deserve and gives fans proper closure.
What makes this series such a good read for me is how realistic it is when it comes to the Quinn family and the trials and tribulations that they go through. I don’t want to go into too much detail since it would spoil the earlier books to do so, but what they go through is the same kind of drama that most families go through — the family drama, complicated relationships, cheating, addiction, financial difficulties, the emotional turmoil when a child in the military is deployed and sent thousands of miles from home, and so much more. Of course some of the Quinn’s drama is ratcheted up Desperate Housewives-style for the added entertainment value, but overall, those ups and downs are very relatable for many readers and so it’s easy to become invested in what they’re going through and to feel tremendous sympathy for them.
In addition to the realistic domestic drama that we get throughout the series, I also loved the characters Hilderbrand created. Even when they are at their worst and doing things that I want to scream at them for doing, I still couldn’t help but love the Quinns. I’m a sucker for a well-drawn, flawed, utterly human character and that description fits all of the Quinns to a T. I especially loved Kelley, the family patriarch. He’s such a good man and his love for his family just shines through in every book of the series. That’s not to say he doesn’t make his fair share of mistakes along the way, but I still just adored him. I found it harder to say goodbye to him than to any of the other characters so, in that sense, Winter Solstice was somewhat bittersweet for me.
Another highlight of the series, and especially of Winter Solstice, was watching the journeys of the four Quinn siblings as they navigate their way through the messy world of adulthood. Many mistakes are made along the way, but if there is an overriding theme in Winter Solstice, I’d say it’s about second chances (or even third and fourth chances) – the idea that no matter how many times you mess up or how badly, you can still recover and move forward.
The setting of the novel is, of course, a huge highlight and also what gives the series its holiday charm. It’s set in Nantucket and the charming Winter Street Inn during the Christmas holiday season. It immediately made me think of snow and snuggling up in front of the fireplace. It doesn’t get much more atmospheric than that!
Even though I really enjoyed Winter Solstice overall, I still had a couple of issues with it. One was that sometimes it just seemed like too much was going on. Since the book was primarily about saying goodbye to the Quinns, I would have liked the book to focus solely on the Quinns and knowing that each of them was going to live happily ever after, so to speak. There seemed to be a few random subplots running through this novel that distracted a bit from that.
The addition of new character ‘Fast Eddie’ was the biggest distraction. While Eddie served somewhat of a purpose in Winter Solstice, I didn’t feel like he was important enough to the overall plot to have entire chapters devoted to his messy love life and his real estate endeavors. In my mind, he was a secondary character and I didn’t care about him aside from what he could do to help the Quinns when they needed his real estate knowledge. I think the series would have closed much stronger with Eddie’s presence minimized. Eddie’s huge presence in Winter Solstice was especially frustrating because we actually didn’t have much of a storyline for Kevin Quinn and his wife, Isabelle. Yes, of all of the Quinn siblings, they were probably the closest to having their act together by the fourth book, but I still would have liked more of them.
Even though I had some issues with it, Winter Solstice still provides a satisfying ending to the Winter series. Even though I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Quinns, I’m quite content with the path Hilderbrand has set them on. If you’re looking for a heart-warming holiday-themed series that focuses on love and family, but that also has plenty of dramatic flair, the Winter series is a good bet.
Thanks so much to Netgalley, Elin HIlderbrand, and Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shapes my opinion of the book.
Raise one last glass with the Quinn Family at the Winter Street Inn.
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 safe and sound 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, WINTER SOLSTICE is Elin Hilderbrand at her festive best.
Glad you enjoyed this even though you had issues. This is a series I want to start and actually still need to read one of her books. Great review!
I’d like to read more of her summer/beach reads since I enjoyed this series so much. Thanks!
It’s always tricky summing up the end of a series, particularly given the wish not to provide too many spoilers, but I reckon you did a really good job here. Thank you for a well written, articulate review – it was a pleasure reading it:)
Thanks, I’m glad to hear that 🙂
It’s always fantastic when a series gives you an ending you like so I’m glad to hear it happened here for you! I actually haven’t heard of this series before, but it sounds like one I’d enjoy. Flawed characters are some of my favorites, and I’m always down for Desperate Housewives like drama – just as long as it doesn’t become too much lol Great review, Suzanne!
Finales are so bittersweet. Even more so when they’re a little frustrating. I’m glad there was more that you liked in this one than not.