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Winter Solstice

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  17,229 Ratings  ·  1,060 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
Kindle Edition, 513 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2000)
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Monica I read this book every Christmas season. It is a comfort and full of hope. I would recommend starting with this one.
Angie Benko I wish there would be a sequel too, but it's my understanding that Ms. pilcher is no longer writing. Sad news for sure!
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lynne Wald
Jun 06, 2007 Lynne Wald rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Dec 10, 2008 Relyn rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Oct 28, 2007 Holly (2 Kids and Tired) rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Jan 12, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-seller
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
Jan 08, 2008 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Julie Barrett
Jun 15, 2012 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-2012
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
Oct 18, 2011 Kathie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2013 Mo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Recommended
I needed a go-to book, and I remembered that my GR friend Claude had recently read a few books by Rosamunde Pilcher, and had enjoyed them very much. Since our reading tastes are usually very similar, I thought I would try one. I’m glad I did!

I love how all of these characters treated each other with such civility. I miss such courtesy in this day and age.

This was a feel-good story all the way. It would be an excellent choice to read at Christmastime… or any other time for that matter. Thank you
Carolyn Agosta
Jul 26, 2010 Carolyn Agosta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2014 Lorna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
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
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
This was the PERFECT book to read during the holiday season. It was cozy and heartfelt and poignant! To me it felt like Kate Morton without the mystery. It was atmospheric and the descriptions of place and time (and food!) were so rich. And I fell in love with the characters (perhaps minus Carrie who I did not find to be as sympathetic as she was meant to be). I felt like I was spending my Christmas with this group of battered, but big-hearted people. It was a wonderful Christmas-time story.
Aug 09, 2013 Roneice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Dec 17, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely, feel-good book to read during the holiday season!
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.
Jan 19, 2009 farmwifetwo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I am only 2 months late in my annual re-read. Worst part is, their will never be a follow-up to the story.

This time I read my hard back with my tablet beside me. Googling up places, people, paintings and of course playing Ode to Joy which was the hymn I requested at my wedding. Dh's Aunt played the organ at funeral dirge speed in their Anglican church and my Mennonite relatives sang it at full speed and in 4 part harmony. She had to keep up.

Will put it away... for next year.
Nov 27, 2016 Sofia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το διάβασα πριν χρόνια και μου άρεσε πολύ!Τώρα ήρθε η ώρα να ταξιδέψει σε άλλη βιβλιοθήκη.Να τα μοιράζετε τα βιβλία σας, να ταξιδεύουν.Μην τα κρατάτε αιχμάλωτα
Opening: Before Elfrida Phipps left London for good, and moved to the country, she made a trip to Battersea Dogs Home, and returned with a canine companion.

At 598 pages in hardback this would appear to be a doorstop however it moves along at a quick lick.

3* September (high 3)
3* Winter Solstice (low 3)


AB A Week in December
CR December
3* Winter Solstice


2* A Country Christmas
TR A Killer's Christmas in Wales
5* A Child's Chris
Oct 20, 2007 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Pilcher is a master craftsman in this novel. Each chapter shifts to the perspective of another character and rotates this way throughout. Actually this is quite brilliant. Often the same scenario is repeated through the eyes of a different character. I found it fascinating to see the different perspectives of the same event. It was also interesting to see the main character through the eyes of each of the other players in the story. First I pictured her as a frumpy old eccentric has-been, then s ...more
Katherine Coble
Apr 01, 2012 Katherine Coble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Laure Glass
Jul 19, 2009 Laure Glass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas-shelf
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.
Dec 27, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a delight. When I told my MIL that I was reading Rosamunde Pilcher she said, "oh I love her! I read all her books in the '70's!" A perfect Christmas read and I'm quite sure I'll find more of her books.
Dec 12, 2015 Claude rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, a
Enjoyable feel-good Christmas read.
Dec 25, 2016 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review and other content from: In My Reading Nook Blog

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher is a cozy, heartwarming character driven story. It is about an unlikely cast of characters who are all at crossroads in their lives for many various reasons. They end up together at a victorian house in Scotland. While there is a plot to this story, it is slow moving. The book is more about the characters, their stories and their coming together in the days leading up to Christmas.

Rosamunde Pilcher h
A.B. Shepherd
Nov 30, 2011 A.B. Shepherd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 08, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e, cosy-feel-good
I really didn't want this novel to end! I felt so cosy, bouncing about in Rosamunde Pilcher's little world of delightful characters and beautiful Scottish scenery, even when there were sad bits that made me want to cry. Such is the empathy this brilliant writer manages to conjure up in her story-telling.

Sometimes I felt that the characters were too good to be true, but it is such a wonderful feeling to be carried along in the little world she creates, that it really doesn't matter at all! Wouldn
Lucy Pollard-Gott
Oct 08, 2011 Lucy Pollard-Gott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tuesbooktalk
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
Dec 20, 2016 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winter
DNF at 24%. This reminded me a lot of Kate Morton but with ultra-traditional gender roles, characters without flaw and no mystery plotline. I didn't understand the characters very well - psychological insight isn't the way Pilcher does characterization. I just didn't want to pick this book up after I put it down, so I didn't.
Nov 18, 2000
Jan 29, 2014
Definitely a good book to suit my mood. Not many novels focus on the aftermath of death, the technical details of funerals, and executing wills, and all that business, so bonus points to Pilcher.

The reason this isn't one of my very favorite books is that the time frame feels much too compressed to me. I prefer the sweep of years one finds in The Shell Seekers and Coming Home to the compression of September and Winter Solstice. Of course, it still has all the marvelous
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Play Book Tag: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher -- 3.5 stars 3 19 Mar 06, 2016 04:18AM  
2017 Reading Chal...: Winter Solstice 1 22 Jan 10, 2016 07:44PM  
Loved this book! 6 32 Dec 01, 2014 11:09AM  
  • An Ocean Apart
  • A Week in Winter
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  • The Best of Friends
  • The Tea House on Mulberry Street
  • The Vineyard
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
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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.” 31 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.” 29 likes
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