Last summer, it was all about the books that I could take to the ballpark with me. The summer before that, it was beach reading. I’ve never been one to think much about a book in light of it being just right for reading by the fire in the midst of winter, but I’ve just finished the perfect book for that very scenario.
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Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice was recommended by a friend whose book and author suggestions are almost always right up my alley. Though the book is not Christian fiction, at its heart, Winter Solstice is a book about reconciliation, and in particular, reconciliation with God. Set primarily in Scotland, the author describes in detail the various landscapes, buildings and settings of her story. An old estate house in town, the shell of a centuries old ruined mill, and the forester’s cottage on a vast estate-turned-hotel are all wonderfully described. The author remembers that we have five senses, though, and she includes them all in her descriptions. She writes vividly, conveying the scent of peat fires, the sounds of the shore birds along the firth, the taste of the spiced tea, and even the feel of entering a warm home on a bitterly cold day.
The story involves five very unlikely folks who find themselves rather thrown together just before Christmas. Though romance is in the air, nothing is saccharine sweet or even, really, predictable. The main characters are very real, each with his own heartaches and joy, past regrets and future hopes, and there’s a cast of about a dozen other folks who lend humor, drama and help round out the story line. I love a book where the author’s words really help me to fall in love with her characters, and this book did just that. Some readers have mentioned that they thought the book had a slow start, but I didn’t think so. Winter Solstice grabbed me from the opening chapter.
I won’t give anything away, because I hate spoilers in book reviews. I will tell you that I loved this book and that I very rarely cry when reading. Winter Solstice, however, had happy tears running down my cheeks as I read the very last couple of pages. A wonderful ending to a terrific book. Perfect wintertime reading.