Friday, January 15, 2016

Blast from the Past: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

I have a friend who has been a fan of Rosamunde Pilcher for years, and of course I never read her until this past month.  It speaks to the popularity of her books  that I checked out the hardcover of Winter Solstice from my local library:  yellow pages, repaired spine, and ragged cover a testament to just how many times people have read this particular edition.  And I wasn't disappointed.  

Elfrida Phipps is a retired actress who lives in a quiet village (Dibton) in England with her dog Horace.  A small cottage, good friends Oscar and Gloria, and a simple life suit her just fine.  An extended visit to her cousin in Cornwall is a welcome change of scenery and a way to connect to family she hasn't seen in awhile.  Coming back to Dibton she finds out a terribly sad event has taken place, and rushes to Oscar's side to provide companionship and comfort.  Oscar asks Elfrida if she will travel to Scotland with him to get away from Dibton and stay at a home he owns with a distant cousin.  She readily agrees, and off they go to Scotland in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  

Corrydale cottage in Scotland is a welcome respite from painful memories for Oscar.  Hoping for a quiet and uneventful Christmas, Elfrida and Oscar find themselves suddenly welcoming Elfrida's relative Carrie, as well as Carrie's young niece Lucy for the holidays.  What could potentially be a painful time for Oscar is actually a balm to his soul, and soon the small group are bonding over tea and cozy chats.  A knock at the door one day welcomes another lost soul into their midst, and life takes a sudden curve that will surprise them all.  

If you want a cozy, truly British read, this is the one for you. It is pure comfort, blissful reading, and a treat to read.  It took me a bit before the story kicked in, so be patient.  It also could be my fault for taking weeks to read this novel.  I have no excuse except it was Christmas and lots of stuff was going on in my life. I plan on reading more Rosamunde Pilcher in the future.  She retired from writing years ago, but luckily left a good amount of books for people to enjoy.  I read a review on Goodreads that calls this genre the "Aga-Saga" and I had to laugh while I nodded my head in agreement.  There's something particularly comforting in a novel that mentions an Aga gently warming the kitchen, a pot of tea or a sip of sherry, and a cottage.  Toss in a lovely English garden and I'm sold.  

Rating:  7/10
Available in paperback, e-book, and audio. 

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