Publication date: October 14th 2014
It’s Christmas Eve and Kelley Quinn is trying to make sure everything at his bed and breakfast is ready for their biggest party of the holidays. All is going well until he walks into a guest room and discovers his wife Mitzi in bed with the man who’s supposed to play Santa. From there, things at the Winter Street Inn and in Kelley’s life pick up speed like the proverbial snowball heading downhill. Mitzi and Santa depart but his daughter Ava arrives to help but is preoccupied with thoughts of her boyfriend who she hoped was going to propose but has, instead, gone to his home town where his newly divorced high school girlfriend is staying. His oldest son Patrick is the responsible child with the interior decorator wife and the income from managing a hedge fund to keep her in toile throw pillows but his decisions may have put an end to both fancy throw pillows and his marriage. Kevin, who held so much promise as a chef, is now a bartender at a local bar and may be involved with a woman who works at the B&B. Finally, his youngest son, from his marriage to Mitzi, has just shipped out to Afghanistan with the Marines. Add in Kelley’s first wife, Margaret, who is a world famous news anchor, and the cast of Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Street is complete.
As this expansive cast goes through their paces in trying to navigate the holidays with as little pain and disappointment as possible Hilderbrand juggles high expectations with the realities of life, and in doing so creates a story that is as well-balanced and lovely to look at as a perfectly decorated tree. Not for her a neat and chic designer tree, Winter Street is a tale that blends the wishfulness many of us harbor with the reality that separates well-written fiction from fairytales. Her characters are filled with all the mistakes, humor, longing, and foolishness of people who live off the page. The kindness Kelley extends to Mitzi and her lover in inviting them to Christmas dinner turns into the natural disaster one would expect from a combination of good Irish whiskey and hurt feelings. All of this makes for the kind of light but insightful reading I’ve come to expect from Hilderbrand and its timing is perfect for the holidays. A slender book, Winter Street is a reward to give yourself for all the effort that goes into making the holidays special.
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