Winter Solstice; Rosamunde Pilcher
St. Martins - (2015 edition)
Why did I wait 20 years to read this wonderful, comforting, gem of a book? This will definitely be one of those books that will come out each December, if not to reread cover to cover, at least to look back at certain passages and quotes.
Winter Solstice follows the lives of (5) individuals who seem to have very little in common except for the fact that each is dealing with some recent turmoil in their lives. There is Elfrida Phipps, a 62 year old who has suffered a loss and is leaving London to start a new life in a small country village. Oscar Blundell, his wife Gloria and young daughter Francesca are first to befriend Elfrida in the new village but, when something tragic happens the story moves to an old stately manor in Creagan. Sam Howard, after a separation from his wife in NYC, leaves New York for Scotland for an executive position there. Thirty-something Carrie and her 14 year old niece are both in need of a change of scenery for the holidays after dealing with their own issues. None of these individuals has any idea that this December will begin to change their lives but, when their paths do cross a transformation and inner peace begins to take place.
There is everything to love about this story - people who care about other people (and don't we need more of this?) wonderfully detailed descriptions that were easy to visualize: the winter shore, newly fallen snow, roaring fires, good food and conversation, specialty shops and much much more. There is a bit of sadness in the story yet, more often than not this was a comforting story that ends on a positive note. I loved how easily I was drawn into the lives of these good people. Sit back with a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate and savor this book. It's not a story to rush through (500+ pp), best read and savored.
I originally started the audiobook in December but, I wasn't enjoying the narrator so I purchased the trade print edition and was very happy I did.
Rating - 5/5 stars
Here are some of the quotes that seemed worth mentioning.
- “You never really got to know people properly until you had seen them within the ambiance of their own home. Seen their furniture and their books and the manner of their lifestyle.”
- “She had been impulsive all her life, made decisions without thought for the future, and regretted none of them, however dotty. Looking back, all she regretted were the opportunities missed, either because they had come along at the wrong time or because she had been too timid to grasp them.”
- “The windows of the church were tall, arched in gothic style. But from the outside, the colours and patterns of the stained-glass were dimmed. He knew that to appreciate their jewel-like beauty one had to view them from within, the light of day streaming through the colours and throwing lozenges of ruby and sapphire and emerald onto worn flagstones.
- "Perhaps this was symbolic. Perhaps, isolated from the church, there were other delights, pleasures, comforts, that, because of his present state of mind, he deliberately denied himself.”
- “As for God, I frankly admit that I find it easier to live with the age old questions about suffering than with many of the easy or pious explanations offered from time to time. Some of which seem to verge on blasphemy.”
- “To cheer herself up, Elfrida looked ahead, in positive fashion, which she had always found a reliable method of dealing with a sense of loss.”
- “Life is sweet. . . Beyond the pain, life continues to be sweet. The basics are still there. Beauty, food and friendship, reservoirs of love and understanding. Later, possibly not yet, you are going to need others who will encourage you to make new beginnings. Welcome them. They will help you move on, to cherish happy memories and confront the painful ones with more than bitterness and anger.”