In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand's first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can't get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley's second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.
As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who's playing Santa at the inn's annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley's ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Little, Brown & Company
Four stars: An entertaining holiday tale with interesting, flawed characters and plenty of holiday drama.
Kelley, the owner of Winter Street Inn, is busy preparing for another big holiday party at the Winter Street Inn. His holly jolly holiday spirit comes crashing down when he opens a door and finds his wife kissing Santa Clause. Things quickly go down hill from there. When Kelly reaches out to his children for help, he finds their lives are in disarray as well. Patrick, his oldest, is being investigated for insider trading, and will likely face jail time. Kevin is secretly dating the French maid, and Ava is having boyfriend troubles. To make matters worse, his youngest son, who is in the Marines, is in Afghanistan, and no one has heard from him in days. Will the Quinn family survive the holidays or will it be a disaster?
What I Liked:
- Winter Street is a holiday book I picked up hoping for a light and fluffy read. I can tell you this what not a cozy, feel good read, as it follows a family with plenty of flaws who finds themselves in the middle of holiday chaos. Even though it wasn't a traditional holiday read, I found that I couldn't put it down. There is something entertaining and intriguing in following a family who finds themselves in the middle of a holiday train wreck. I had fun.
- I liked that the characters were flawed and that each one was experiencing their own personal disaster. This book has multiple points of views, and I found that I enjoyed each and every character. Ava, Margaret and Kelley were my favorites.
- Speaking of Margaret, I was completely surprised by her character. Margaret is the anchor on the national nightly news. She is one of the most famous faces in America. I expected her to be snooty and high maintenance, but she wasn't. She was charming, and I loved the way she came through for her family when they needed her the most.
- Even though there is a lot of chaos in this one, there is plenty of holiday charm. I liked the Nantucket Inn setting with its eclectic nutcrackers and cozy feel. It was terrific.
- I listened to the audio version and I thought the narrator, Erin Bennett did a fantastic job. Erin brings the characters to life. I highly recommend this one on audio.
And The Not So Much:
- After all the upheaval, it seemed like the dust was settling and that things were going to end in a nice, neat way, but nope it doesn't. The book ends on a startling cliffhanger note, that I found completely disconcerting. What kind of holiday book ends with a jarring bit of bad news on the final page? It didn't leave me with a holly jolly feeling.
- I know that not everything can be settled in life in a few short days, but I was hoping for more resolution. I felt like the book ended with too many unanswered questions and unfinished story lines. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Patrick and more about Bart.
- I was expecting this one to be a bit lighter and cheerier, but it isn't. If you are looking for a light, pick me up holiday read that you can cozy up with, this one won't work for you. However, I personally found myself immediately drawn in by the characters and the story. I had a good time with it.
Winter Street is not your typical holiday read as it focuses on a family who is the midst of turmoil and chaos during the holiday season. I enjoyed the realistic story and entertaining characters, and I immediately was drawn into the story. However, I was disappointed that it wasn't a bit fluffier and that it ended with a jarring cliffhanger. Still it was a fun book to listen to, and if you are in the mood for something that deviates from the cozy cheer, this is one to try.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.