7 Days into the New Year and I’ve already finished my first book of the year! I read Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand and I loved it. I will admit that I totally judged this book by its cover when I was perusing the book section at Target. The wintery book cover with the Christmas wreath on the door drew me in immediately. I’ve only read one other book by Elin Hilderbrand before but it was so long ago that I only sort of recognized her name. After refreshing myself, I do remember that I did love Summer Affair and now that I’ve read Winter Street I’ll be checking out more of her books. Onto the review/recap!
So, it turns out that this is Elin’s first Christmas novel and after reading Winter Street, I hope there will be many more, or maybe even a sequel! I really enjoy books written from the perspective of different characters so that I can really understand each side of a situation. You learn so much about each character as the book progresses and you really learn how they all feel about each other and why they interact in the way that they do, which Elin portrays extremely well. The main characters are Kelley, who owns the Winter Street Inn; Mitzi, Kelley’s wife and co-owner of the Inn. Ava, Patrick and Kevin are Kelley’s three adult children with his former wife Margaret. And then there is Bart, who is never a narrator in the book (due to him being in Afghanistan) but his presence is strongly felt, because we get to hear different stories about him from each of the main characters.
Because of how well developed each character is they are really believable as a modern day family. Margaret says it best when thinking about her relationship with Bart “She is something of a reverse stepmother to Bart, the first wife of his father, the mother to his half siblings. Why isn’t there a term for this relationship?” That statement really made me think because I know a lot of relationships like this; And there isn’t a term. There are so many complicated family situations nowadays that it’s nice to read books that don’t have just a simple nuclear family. I like reading about families with unusual and complicated relationships because they are more realistic and relatable to me.
In Winter Street, each character is going through their own emotional episode and it’s rather magical watching as this dysfunctional family gathers for Christmas to support each other even while they are dealing with their own personal struggles. Kelley finds out that his wife has been cheating on him with the man that plays Santa Clause at the Inn’s holiday party. Mitzi is dealing with the choices her son has made to join the Marines. Ava is struggling to get her boyfriend Nathaniel to commit long term. Kevin is hiding a relationship with an Inn employee and Patrick, who is the ‘perfect’ one in the family has just been put on a leave of absence for his questionable business practices. Despite the individual dramas of the characters Winter Street is a perfect light read for Christmas time. The story line is fairly predictable but that’s what I liked about the book. I felt like I got to know the characters so well that I know how they would react to situations and how their story would conclude at the end of the book. I felt as if I was actually at the Inn with all of them the way the Christmas décor and the rooms were described.
I have a habit of reading the same books at Christmastime to get me in the festive mood and this will definitely get read every Christmas.
Have you read Winter Street? What did yo think? Do you guys read specific books at certain times of the year? Let me know in the comments!