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Winter Solstice

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  11,474 ratings  ·  628 reviews
When she leaves London for the pretty Hampshire village that she describes as 'my geriatric bolt-hole', Elfrida Phipps quickly feels at home. She has a tiny cottage, her faithful dog Horace and the friendship of the neighbouring Blundells - particularly Oscar - to ensure that her days include companionship as well as independence.
But an unforeseen tragedy upsets Elfrida's
...more
Kindle Edition, 504 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lynne Wald
May 25, 2008 Lynne Wald rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: TOTALLY
This is one of my favourite books of all time. The writing is fantastic, the characters so well penned that I came to care about them, and when I put the book down, I wanted to continue to know these people, which to me is a good indication that the book is top notch. Scotland came to life for me here, and I really wanted to go there at christmas time and experience Scotland at that period. I have read it several times and will continue to pick it up on occasions.
Relyn
Dec 05, 2013 Relyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Relyn by: I have been a fan of Rosamunde Pilcher for years
I just finished listening to this book again. I have it on my iPod. I bet I listen to it at least once a year. Probably more than that. I adore Rosamunde Pilcher's world, and I think this is her very best book. I could go on and on about Pilcher. I have read everything she's written. At least, that I know about. I mourned when I found out that she doesn't intend to write another book. This is my favorite author. She is full of warmth. She writes of the comforts of home. A warm fire, comfy chairs ...more
Laura
This fluctuates between heartwarming and trashy. A group of loosely connected people wind up together at an estate house in some small Highland town, where they make friends and heal their wounded souls, all in time for Christmas. Parts of it are very sweet, and I’m yearning now to spend a Christmas in the snowy north of Scotland, but the author’s lack of moral clarity was so off-putting that it spoiled the book. It’s as though she couldn’t possibly be so judgmental as to condemn the stupid choi ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Oct 28, 2007 Holly (2 Kids and Tired) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutly anyone
I love Rosamunde Pilcher. I love everything she's written. Most people rave about The Shell Seekers, and while I love that book as well, it's not my most favorite.

Winter Solstice is delightful and thought-provoking. Pilcher's narratives are pure prose. You find yourself immersed in the world of Scottish tweeds and cottages and hospitality. She captures the intense feelings of grief, and the hope that comes when you learn to love again.
Carrie
Aug 11, 2013 Carrie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of simple, well-written stories.
Shelves: fiction, holiday
This is probably my all time favorite Pilcher book. I love her writing and regularly return to reread old favorites, but Winter Solstice had become a yearly ritual for me. Like most of Pilcher's other novels, this is not an action packed book, but instead is a sweetly told story of people who come together to form an unlikely family.
Kathie
I can't help it, I have to give Rosamund Pilcher's books a 5 star rating. They are set in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland) so that immediately makes it a favorite read. Having been to England twice I can return there in her books. Her character development is bar-none. She paints pictures with words: the weather, the landscape, the person, their clothes, the event. I am drawn in so easily and find myself planted in Creagan, Scotland, looking up the lane at a mansion, feeling the cold wind ...more
Sheri
This book really disappointed me. While the writing was fun and entertaining and did feel like a holiday (all the cozy cottages and teas and twinkling things), I felt icky inside when I was done with it. The author seems to glorify adultery, divorce and sex outside marriage as long as there's an "understandable" excuse (ie: done in the name of "love"). If you've read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - this, to me, is Turkish Delight.
Carolyn Agosta
Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. A brief time, when darkness predominates. Yet in this brief time, Rosamund Pilcher has set a story filled with light and warmth.
The book is classic Pilcher, full of detail and texture, housed in quirky old buildings and peopled with obliging neighbors, wet dogs, unexpected guests and a cast of characters we can grow to love.

This is not a book to be rushed through. Don't read it in bits and pieces, wedged into stolen moments during lunch breaks or wh
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Pam
I love the settings & the characters in Pilcher's book. She has a knack for making the rather ordinary (Oscar, the church organist who remained a bachelor until late mid-life) seem unique & the rather non-conventional (Elfrida, the London actress) seem cozy, warm & motherly. Set mostly in Scotland, w/ an assortment of extended family members.
Julie Barrett
This is the third Pilcher book I have read. I very begrudgingly read the first one (Coming Home) at recommendation of a good friend. All the covers of Pilcher's books are so hokey and romance novel looking - I was definitely (negatively) judging a book by it's cover and was rather appalled that my friend had thought I would like a book apparently written for my grandmother.But I read it & greatly enjoyed it. Now whenever I need a break from non-fiction or bloody murder mysteries or arty inte ...more
Chelsea
My words are inadequate in describing what a beautiful story this book represents! This book is just perfect for the Christmas season and it is set in Scotland. And even if you don't agree with all of the characters' actions, the story, as a whole, is about grieving and healing, hope, forgiveness, faith, beauty, and the power of love and friendship. The characters are represented very realistically and it is almost as if you were part of the story itself, and in some ways, I wish I was. I highly ...more
Roneice
There is a limited number of books that I have read and reread many times. Re-reading this book as the Christmas Season begins every year has become part of My Christmas Traditions. Love the locations chosen and the images they stir up in my mind. Scotland, trains, older heroine. Have it on my iPhone and iPad. Want to know it is always at my fingertips,
Lorna
This is basically a great big warm hug of a book! It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside. I read it every year on the run up to Christmas and every time I open it's pages it's like revisiting old friends. It just gets better and better.
Oscar Blundell tragically loses his wife and young daughter in a car crash and retreats to a house in Scotland that he owns half of, intending to spend a subdued Christmas with the support of his dear friend Elfrida. However it just so happens that there are
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JayeL
Jan 02, 2011 JayeL rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys nice fiction about people's relationships
Shelves: 2011, favorite
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A.B. Shepherd
This is a charming, albeit long at nearly 600 pages, novel full of lovable odd characters, a freezing Scottish winter, and lots of friendship and love. There is tragedy and loss, but there is also rebirth and recovery. Life goes on. Circumstances change and much like in real life these characters keep going and try to find their place in things.

Others have criticized Pilcher's moral code with the drunk-driving and infidelity threads in this novel, but I think Pilcher probably feels much like I
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Patricia Cal


Rosamund Pilcher never ceases to amaze me. The characters in this book may have a lot to be desired in their lives and morals, but that is life. Reading her books opens the door to areas that I may never be able to experience in travels. Her descriptions of the areas, food, furnishing of the estates is so vivid, that I feel I have been there. She enables you to be able to view the rooms, and the lives of the characters in the books. The young girl, Lucy can be any young girl whose parents are w
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Lucy Pollard-Gott
I think I appreciate this book even a little bit more on rereading. Its plot works out very neatly, perhaps too neatly for some readers, but a plot free of contrivance is not Pilcher's strength. Her greatest strengths are (a) close observation of the little details of daily life that make it so precious, and (b) a warm-hearted faith in people's latent capacity to care for each other. And she writes very ringing dialogue! I cover the pages with underlines and little stars and exclamations because ...more
Katherine Coble
This is one of those stories you read when you just want to curl up and be cozy. There's no grand point to it. People don't get robbed or murdered, there's no grasping for power. Just ordinary people in a cozy setting doing cozy things.

There were several points when I thought I'd just set the book aside to read something a bit more actiony. But honestly, it was very _restful_ and a great read for a rainy week in early spring. It was nice to just read the details of a few people having a Christm
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Carolynne
Someone called this a "great comfort read," and that's a good description. The basic plot: Retired actress Elfrida Phipps and widowed friend Oscar move to an old Victorian house in Scotland, complete with roaring fires, and expected British inconveniences, along with her niece Carrie, grieving the loss of a lover, and great-niece Lucy, basically abandoned by her parents. In the midst of a snowstorm arrives Sam, surviving a loss of his own. In the hands of another author this would seem a group o ...more
Laure Glass
My all-time favourite Christmas story. This is how Christmas should be: surrounded by those you love and kept simple. Rosamunde Pilcher can create a scene without flowery descriptions or imagery. Her language is simple but draws you right in to the story. I've read all her books that I know of. I read this book every year and have done for probably the last 5 years.
Christy
Rosamunde Pilcher writes very well and it is easy to get into her books. I found this one to be a little overly descriptive and felt like it could have ended sooner than it did. Also, I could live without the gratuitous romance...
Becky
Absolutely one of my favorite books! Rich in characters, setting, plot and theme! I reread it every year or so!
Dorothy
Winter Solstice is truly a delightful story. It is one of those books that you just wished you had in hand when your outlook on the world is weary and dreary. For once in your lifetime, a book gives you a happily ever after ending. Oh, there is death, divorce, and the tawdry aspects of every day living, but the silver lining behind each little cloud almost makes you forget them.
Pilcher's tale could very well be entitled, a story of convenience. Why? You see after Elfrida's third love affair, t
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LemonLinda
If you are looking for a great Christmas book to read in December, this one is the perfect choice. Pilcher gives us the background story on a retired actress who has moved to the country from the London stage, a retired schoolmaster and church musician, the actress's niece who returns to London with a heavy heart and the niece's 14 year old niece who she rescues from a selfish mother and grandmother for the holidays. Also involved is a late 30 something very successful businessman who is flounde ...more
Pam
I really enjoyed this book by an author I've never read before. It was set in London, England and Scotland. I learned that good things happen to people even after they retire, or lose loved ones, there are people who need people of all ages and situations, everywhere. Very well written. I would read another of her books.

Here's a couple of quotes I liked:

pg 154: "He had always despised self-pity, and now, sitting huddled in the small wooden shelter, he fought it like a lion, striving to be posit
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Chana
I don't think I've ever read a book set in a small English village that didn't turn up a dead body and have a detective inspector just happening to be vacationing there or something. So I kept waiting for the dead body even though this is not a murder mystery. Imagine my surprise when this actually happened. But it wasn't a murder, it was a tragedy. Not my kind of book already. This is basically a romantic but clean, old-fashioned kind of family saga.
And it goes on and on and on and on..... I k
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Mary
Jul 16, 2012 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Elfrida Phipps, once a famous actress on the London stage, retires at age 62 and moves to the sleepy Hampshire village of Dibton. She never anticipates going off with a man. But after a devastating tragedy, her first friend from when she arrived in Dibton, Oscar Blundell - the church organist - asks her for companionship. So, with her brown-and-white dog in tow, Elfrida begins her journey.

What she doesn't realize is that also joining her and Oscar in the rundown Victorian mansion in Scotland, wi
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Knitme23
I love this book, and I read it almost yearly. While it glorifies many aspects of life and smooths over others (grief, for example: I don't understand how Oscar could function two months after his loss; a year might be more realistic and certainly give Elfrida more reason to feel it's time for him to move on to healing), relies on "deus ex machina" and various other flaws. . . . it's a good-hearted, warm, nicely written book for an Anglophile in a cold climate, and it nicely fills that "I have n ...more
Dana
I have been in love with this author since I read The Shell Seekers years ago. OK, my 4 star rating is based largely on emotion and sentimentality. Why not? I want to go to the places she writes about, sit in the houses and gardens, know the people. There are difficult times, thoughtfully and intelligently handled by the strong, likeable female main characters. In the end there is resolution and a sense of contentment. I find the books inspiring and humorous in a subtle and sly way. The best par ...more
Agatha
I had checked out and enjoyed a movie based upon one of this author’s previous books, The Shell Seekers, so I decided to seek out some more books by her, and was glad I did. A bit slow in getting started as author makes all the introductions, it finally rewards the reader by about page 150 or so. Full of British and Scottish things, words, vocab, etc., it’s about a gathering of 5 different individuals who all find themselves at odds and ends (for various reasons, end of relationships, death in t ...more
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Loved this book! 5 18 Sep 24, 2014 07:45AM  
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Rosamunde Scott was born on 22 September 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall, England, UK, daughter of Helen and Charles Scott, a British commander. Just before her birth her father was posted in Burma, her mother remained in England. She attended St. Clare's Polwithen and Howell's School Llandaff before going on to Miss Kerr-Sanders' Secretarial College. She began writing when she was seven, and published h ...more
More about Rosamunde Pilcher...
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“Beyond the pain, life continues to be sweet. The basics are still there. Beauty, food and friendship, reservoirs of love and understanding. Later, possibly not yet, you are going to need others who will encourage you to make new beginnings. Welcome them. They will help you move on, to cherish happy memories and confront the painful ones with more than bitterness and anger.” 17 likes
“And the wicked thing is, that when we're really upset, we always take it out on the people who are closest and whom we love the most.” 11 likes
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