Winter Solstice

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This book is set in the end of 2017 on Nantucket island. It opens just before Halloween and ends just before Christmas, on the Winter Solstice. We've read other Elin Hilderbrand novels (The Identicals, The Island) - this one was my least favorite. Perhaps because it's a sequel, the end of a series but I don't think so. Hilderbrand does a competent job of fully introducing each character and providing enough back story to understand the dynamics of each situation - but I just didn't feel hooked into caring about any particular character until I was more than halfway through. There is a very broad canvass of characters so there was plenty of potential - but nobody really stood out to me.

I suppose if you have direct experience with a former prisoner of war, or a recovering pill addict, or a former insider-trader, perhaps you could find a connection. And speaking of the war hero, he often mentioned the "Bely" as if it was a common term but I've never heard it and Google is no help. The meaning is clear but the annoyance was real.

I found it strange that of the twenty of so characters two of them were recently released from jail/prison for insider trading and for leading a prostitution ring (yes on Nantucket island).

On a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being a lot of examples/instances):

Sex: 0

Religion: 0

Gruesome: 0

Suspense: 1

Morality: 3

Traditional: 2

Sex - The closest mention of sex is two adults going up to their room for some "much-needed alone time". (p. 105)

Religion - the characters prepare for Christmas but there is no mention of church

Gruesome - nothing gruesome

Suspense - if you managed to get really invested in a character, then you might have had some minor suspense wondering how their storyline would work out

Morality - the backstories of several characters include illegal activities and addictions but they are all trying to put their pasts behind them

Traditional - several divorced couples and blended families

Discussion Questions

How important was your first experience living alone? (Ava, p. 17)

Which story thread were you most interested in? Least interested in?

Theme Ideas

Serve Bremner wafers, brie, Spanish peanuts and chardonnay like when the kids were in the kitchen before Bart's birthday party. (p. 105)

Serve the menu Ava had planned for when Potter came over for dinner with PJ: homemade tomato soup, grilled ham and cheese, green salad with creamy lime dressing and whoopie pies. (p. 25)

Make a point NOT to serve chicken - for Bart's sake. (p. 178)

String cranberries and popcorn garland like Margaret (from Martha Stewart). (p. 273)

Serve cheese fondue (Gruyere, Emmenthaler, wine and kirsch) with toasted bread cubes and sliced sausage with Riesling wine. (p. 273)