cover image Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

Elin Hilderbrand. Little, Brown, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-43545-1

Hilderbrand’s engaging 20th novel follows the Quinn family and their loved ones as patriarch Kelley Quinn succumbs to cancer. After he and his first wife, Margaret, divorced, Kelley quit his high-paying trader job and moved their three children from Manhattan to Nantucket. He later married Mitzi, with whom he ran the Winter Street Inn and had a fourth child, Bart. As a child, Kelley and Margaret’s daughter Ava clashed with her stepmother. Now that she’s grown, Ava turns to Mitzi for advice on how to deal with her boyfriend’s difficult son. Meanwhile, after Mitzi and Kelley’s Marine son, Bart, went missing as a POW in Afghanistan for two years, he returns home with PTSD. His parents find a ray of hope in 22-year-old Bart’s romantic interest in 19-year-old Allegra Pancik. Bart’s disgraced decorator sister-in-law, Jennifer, who overcame a pill addiction, ditches a high-paying client after he propositions her sexually, but her family’s precarious financial situation requires her to find another gig fast. The clan attempts to navigate their issues as Kelley’s situation worsens, and the family must find a way to come together in a time of need. Hilderbrand is a quality storyteller who keeps the reader riveted, and her characters come alive on the page. Though she’s skilled at building up tension, problematic situations are sometimes too easily resolved (for instance, Allegra’s love seems to miraculously cure Bart of his PTSD). Readers who enjoy bittersweet family stories will be charmed. [em](Oct.) [/em]