I know, I know, it’s too early for Christmas. I agree completely. However, I couldn’t help but pick up Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand when I was at the library. I read the first book in this trilogy, Winter Street, when it first came out and I devoured it in one sitting. I haven’t had a chance to read the final installment, Winter Storm yet, but I’ll be picking it up soon. I highly recommend grabbing all three and checking them out.
So as not to spoil anything, I’ll just say this, Winter Stroll picks up a year after the first book ends, a few weeks before Christmas on Nantucket. The story follows the Quinn family in the aftermath of a hard year full of huge changes.
I’ve read a few of Hilderbrand’s books at this point. And what I like most about her writing deals with her characters. It’s easy to pass her books off as fluff, with the covers full of beach scenes. But this is serious literature. If a man had written any of her books, the covers wouldn’t give off such a beachy vibe. What she does brilliantly is write truly complicated characters. None of them feel cliched or like they’re filling in the spot of a troupe. Instead, especially the women of her books, they are nasty and joyful and full of cracks and imperfections. At first glance, her characters come off as perfect preppy women of a certain social class in New England. As the reader gets to know them, we realize how they’re actually complicated women who are jealous, have bad relationships and try their best to be good mothers, partners and friends.
Sometimes I find myself trying to like a book others have recommended but I find the characters boring. That’s usually because they aren’t realistic. No one is perfect and Hilderbrand’s aren’t. She writes women that we assume have it together. Instead, they have fascinating inner dialogues and actions. They’re real and they could be the woman in front of you at Starbucks or the woman who you help gather the contents of her purse after it explodes in line at the grocery store. I recognize the women I’ve babysat for, who I teach yoga too and even sometimes myself in her characters.
In Winter Stroll, I enjoy how each section of the story is broken up by point of view. The cast of characters is large and diverse and getting a chance to hear from them all is an interesting way to digest a story like this. This novel takes place over the course of a stress filled weekend, one of those intense family times when everyone is edgy. Getting to experience it from everyone’s point of view makes the book even more interesting and enjoyable.
Over Thanksgiving, start with Winter Street, Winter Stroll and Winter Storm. These books will be a nice break and allow you to focus on the Quinn family drama, not your own.