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Winter Solstice


4.18  ·  Rating details ·  26,108 ratings  ·  2,108 reviews
Her captivating bestseller of loss and the healing power of love now re-issued with a stunning new jacket look. Elfrida Phipps loves her new life in the pretty Hampshire village. 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 a ...more
Paperback, 698 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton Paperbacks (first published August 1st 2000)
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Christine M The Shellseekers is her most well known work and it is one of my favourites. However, I think my top pick is September. She writes with such a sense o…moreThe Shellseekers is her most well known work and it is one of my favourites. However, I think my top pick is September. She writes with such a sense of place that I always feels I am right there, standing on the hills of Scotland or overlooking the sea in Palma. This one is also a wonderful story of family and healing past hurts.(less)
Miriam I too would love to know what they do after Christmas, how they settle into town and the estate.

Alas, unless her son, Robin, writes a sequel, we'll h…more
I too would love to know what they do after Christmas, how they settle into town and the estate.

Alas, unless her son, Robin, writes a sequel, we'll have to imagine their lives. Sadly, Ms Pilcher passed away in 2019.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  26,108 ratings  ·  2,108 reviews

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Lynne Wald
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Anne Bogel
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this quiet novel, five individuals, each dealing with their own painful personal tragedy, are unexpectedly brought together during the Christmas season in the Scottish countryside—though they've decided not to celebrate the holiday; it's too painful this year. But redemption is found in surprising places, and in the midst of so much loss, love and redemption emerge. This book was a delightful surprise; I enjoyed it so much. ...more
Jan 12, 2009 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
I had an aunt Birdie, who imagined herself more beautiful than Liz Taylor, particularly when she imitated everything about the famous actress, including the blue eye shadow that would even be securely painted on her eyelids with her passing. She just couldn't be seen without it.

The passing happened about thirty years after she encountered uncle Atticus at the breakfast table one Christmas morning. She was dressed to kill. Literary and as usual. In her case it meant that the strings of her corset
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 intellec ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Debbie Zapata
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019sundaze
Rosamunde Pilcher has quickly become a source of guaranteed comfort reads for me. Sometimes I wonder why I never read her years ago, but I doubt my younger self would have appreciated the quality of her work as much as my 60 year-old self does.

Usually nothing overly unbelievable happens: the characters are fairly close to normal everyday people, and their stories are told in a straightforward but vibrant way that makes me feel very much a part of their world.

This book was the same. With a wonder
Jan 08, 2008 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. ...more
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
The kind of book we expect from Rosamunde Pilcher. Not a lot really happens and there is no doubt that everyone will end up exactly where they want to be however unlikely that is. I did enjoy this book but it was far far too wordy. There were large sections which were really not needed and in the end I found myself skimming paragraphs in order to get back to the actual story line. It is a "safe" book. One where you know that all will be well with the world in the end. And I did feel a little tea ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are looking for a cozy, Christmas read
It’s been almost thirty years since I read anything by Rosamunde Pilcher. I remember reading most of her books during my early twenties and liking them at the time, most especially “The Shell Seekers”. I’d like to read them all again eventually, since I don’t remember them at all.

This book was perfect for me and beautifully written. Yes, it was a bit predictable at times, but it was all part of the charm – a cozy Christmas read. The Scottish setting made me want to be there.

Although Rosamunde P
Julie  Durnell
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk, reread
I read this shortly after it was published and don't really remember the story so am so glad I decided to re-read. It was absolutely delightful and the perfect time to pick it up! I could see where this was headed early on but it was the slow ride to get there that made it so special. The cast of characters, mis-matched and thrown together, works so well that I really would enjoy a sequel but know that is not going to happen. ...more
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Second read 2018: Found the ending much more emotionally sweet than the first time I read it. Seemed a little redundant in places this time but didn't affect how much I enjoyed Elfrida's and Oscar's lovely story. Note: Pilcher paints these two people as very old. They're 62 and 68. That's my age. That's not old!

First read 2011: I must 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
Carolyn Agosta
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Recommended
Shelves: 0-dl, 2016, brit-lit, christmas
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
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 rated it it was amazing
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,
Apr 29, 2014 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
Book Concierge
Digital audiobook narrated by Carole Shelley

Five very different people, ranging in age from teen-aged to mid-sixties, converge on a Scottish cottage just before Christmas. Each is facing some difficult changes in his or her life, and together they find a way to navigate the turbulence in their lives.

What a charmingly told story. I grew to love these characters. Elfrida is practical, giving, generous and compassionate. Oscar is reeling from loss, struggling to come to grips with his guilt and gr
Jan 06, 2009 added it
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. ...more
Maine Colonial
You know how the Danish concept of hygge (coziness, comfort, conviviality) has been popular lately? Well, Rosamunde Pilcher was all over that stuff years ago. Her novels have always celebrated the simple beauties and pleasures of ever-changing weather, warming a home with friends, family, food and drink, overcoming pain to re-find love. Her books are what I consider to be the ultimate comfort reads, and Winter Solstice is just what you should be reading if you’re trying the hygge lifestyle this ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a lovely, feel-good book to read during the holiday season!
Beth Bonini
Pilcher definitely has a formula, but the cosy and 'heart-warming' qualities of her novels are undeniable. The formula: a disparate set of characters (all suffering from some kind of hurt or loneliness) come together in a welcoming house with delicious food and plenty of whisky. There is healing, some romance, friendship and an overall rapprochement- and it just all very effective. I read this one over the Christmas week, and it really was ideal. I think that The Shell Seekers is still my favour ...more
SheriC (PM)
I was a little impatient with this slow-moving story at first, but in the end was glad that I stayed with it. It’s a warm, comfortable story of people who adrift at the end of a relationship, who find one another and begin anew. It’s not a Romance, but it is a story of love in its many forms. It was a little like a book form of those sweet, staid BBC and PBS shows that seem to mostly feature nice people sitting and talking, or walking and talking, with just enough offscreen drama to keep it inte ...more
Christine PNW
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My near yearly reread is complete, and this is as satisfying a seasonal read as usual.


After the emotional rollercoaster of the last week - and with the ongoing pandemic - I need some Christmas music and Rosamunde Pilcher. The yearly reread commences.
Kate Olson
Love, love, LOVE this book. I listened to the audio version and it made my heart so very happy. Definitely a heartprint book for me!
Sotiris Karaiskos
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
It is good to discover new writers but it is always best to return the warm embrace of your beloved writers where you always know what you will encounter and that will be a very positive thing. Rosamunde Pilcher is one of those writers who, every time I go back to their work, I will find something to offer me the necessary literary pleasure. As in all of her books, she begins to tell a story that at first glance has little to do out of portraying some well-to-do people having a good time. As I w ...more
4 1/2 stars

This was the perfect read for the holidays and winter solstice! Four adults who have recently experienced tragedy and loss (along with the teenage niece of one of them) find themselves stranded in an estate house in northern Scotland over the Christmas holiday/winter solstice. It didn't bother me that I could (mostly) see where this was going. I couldn't put it down and as my IRL friend who recommended this said "I didn't want it to end.". I wanted to stay in the coziness of the villa
Jul 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was so predictable, so tiresome, so repetitive (same event described ad nauseam from different characters' points of view - it made me bonkers!). The characters felt one dimensional and the dialogue sounded like they were all the same person, with the exception of the housekeeper whose personality had some flair. There were so many convenient coincidences. I almost made it to the end, but quit with 50 pages left to go because I stopped caring. ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve had this book on my shelf for years. I’m actually glad I saved it because it was made for reading right now. A delightful wintertime tale that warmed my heart as much as the tea (and coffee) and fireplace scenes warmed the various characters in this story.

If you’re in need of a peaceful, heart warming read that does not cross the line into sappy I think you’re in good hands with this one.


Hmmmmm.... if I had read my own review above, I don’t think I’d want to read the book. I think I
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New favorite author 1 2 Jan 19, 2021 11:42AM  
Play Book Tag: Winter Solstice / Rosamunde Pilcher - 4**** 4 22 Feb 10, 2019 02:14PM  
Nightstand Hoarders : February 2018 - Winter Solstice 14 14 Mar 08, 2018 07:28PM  
Loved this book! 8 41 Nov 14, 2017 04:05PM  
Christmas Reading Lists 1 12 Nov 14, 2017 02:21PM  

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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 he ...more

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