Winter Solstice (by Rosamunde Pilcher)

How I love Rosamunde Pilcher's writing! So sad that she has now retired from writing, but what a wonderful legacy she has left us.

I think that of all her books (all of which I love), this is my favourite. I first read 'Winter Solstice' in 2001, and was more than ready to read it again. It's an excellent book to read in a warm room, on a few cold wet days in winter!

Elfrida, the heroine of the book, is sixty-three. She is an active ex-actress, who lives on her own in a small village. She is very fond of her good friend Oscar, and also has some relatives she cares for very much, but she likes her independence too. She's very much a free spirit, and - as with all Pilcher's characters - extraordinarily likeable, even within the first few pages of the book.

Elfrida goes away for a while, then returns to find that life has taken a sudden and totally shocking turn for Oscar, which affects her too. As a result of this, she agrees to accompany him to Scotland.

Meanwhile, Elfrida's distant cousin Carrie (30) has just returned to the UK after the break-up of a love affair abroad. And Carrie's niece Lucy (14) is feeling entirely unwanted. Her divorced mother is going away for Christmas, her father's new wife doesn't really like her, and even her grandmother doesn't want her.

So Carrie comes to the rescue, and they both end up with Elfrida and Oscar... as do one or two other people who find themselves drawn together by a variety of circumstances.

Character-driven, very moving, and utterly brilliant!

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