Cover image for Winter solstice
Winter solstice
Pilcher, Rosamunde.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
454 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"Thomas Dunne Books."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.3 26.0 44875.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
Alden Ewell Free Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library X Adult Fiction Work Room
Concord Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Elma Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenilworth Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lackawanna Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lake Shore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Being fixed/mended
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In Winter Solstice Rosamunde Pilcher brings her readers into the lives of five very different people....

Elfrida Phipps, once of London's stage, moved to the English village of Dibton in hopes of making a new life for herself. Gradually she settled into the comfortable familiarity of village life -- shopkeepers knowing her tastes, neighbors calling her by name -- still she finds herself lonely.

Oscar Blundell gave up his life as a musician in order to marry Gloria. They have a beautiful daughter, Francesca, and it is only because of their little girl that Oscar views his sacrificed career as worthwhile.

Carrie returns from Australia at the end of an ill-fated affair with a married man to find her mother and aunt sharing a home and squabbling endlessly. With Christmas approaching, Carrie agrees to look after her aunt's awkward and quiet teenage daughter, Lucy, so that her mother might enjoy a romantic fling in America.

Sam Howard is trying to pull his life back together after his wife has left him for another. He is without home and without roots, all he has is his job. Business takes him to northern Scotland, where he falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and set his sights on a house.

It is the strange rippling effects of a tragedy that will bring these five characters together in a large, neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan.

It is in this house, on the shortest day of the year, that the lives of five people will come together and be forever changed. Rosamunde Pilcher's long-awaited return to the page will warm the hearts of readers both old and new. Winter Solstice is a novel of love, loyalty and rebirth.

Author Notes

English romance novelist and short story writer Rosamunde Pilcher was born in Lelant, in Cornwall, England. The daughter of a Royal Navy commander, she was educated at public schools in both England and Wales, and served in the Women's Royal Naval Service from 1942 to 1946. After leaving the Naval Service, she married Graham Hope Pilcher in December 1946.

Pilcher was interested in writing from an early age, and was encouraged by her parents to pursue this interest. At age 16 she submitted a short story to the editor of three women's magazines. Though the story was rejected, the editor told her to keep trying. This contact led to the publication of another story a short time later. She then began a successful career writing what she describes as "sort of mimsy little love stories" under the pseudonym Jane Fraser. Her first novel, Halfway to the Moon (1949), was published under that name, and for a number of years she continued to write under that name as well as her own.

Pilcher specializes in "light reading for intelligent ladies," as she has stated in an interview in Publishers Weekly. The author of over 20 novels, she has also written numerous short stories, many of which have appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine. One of Pilcher's longest and most complex novels, as well as one of her most popular works, is The Shell Seekers (1988). The novel focuses on Penelope Keeling, an independent, slightly offbeat woman who recalls, through flashbacks, her idyllic childhood in Cornwall, her hasty wartime marriage, and her troubled relationship with two of her three children. Now settled in a country cottage filled with reminders of her past, Penelope draws strength and comfort from these mementos, especially a painting entitled "The Shell Seekers," which was painted by her father. Although not autobiographical, the novel loosely parallels Pilcher's own life in a number of ways. Other works include Sleeping Tiger (1967), The End of the Summer (1971), Wild Mountain Thyme (1979), and Voices in Summer (1982).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this much anticipated new novel by Pilcher, a master at depicting English life, the characters range from those in the twilight of their days to those just starting out. Sixty-year-old Elfrida Phipps has just lost the love of her life and wants to live simply in the country. By chance, her friend, Oscar Blundell, is also in retreat. After his younger wife and child died, his wife's sons sold his home, so he moves to the Estate House, which he co-owns with his cousin, in Creagan, Scotland. Meanwhile, Carrie, a 30-year-old cousin of Elfrida's, has been dumped by her married lover. And then there's Lucy, Carrie's 14-year-old niece, who is an inconvenience to her divorced mother and a burden to the grandmother they live with. Oscar asks Elfrida, a friend to both himself and his late wife, to come join him at the Estate House. A free spirit, she looks forward to this adventure, packs up her house in Hampshire, and goes with Oscar to sort out his new life. They develop a close relationship and only start exploring their new surroundings after a phone call from Carrie, who needs a place to take Lucy for Christmas. Elfrida welcomes them with open arms, and they prove to be just what Oscar needs to help him re-enter society. Pilcher has crafted a charming and thoughtful book rich in engaging characters that makes the ordinary seem extraordinary and warms the heart like a good cup of tea. --Patty Engelmann

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author of The Shell Seekers has penned another romance sure to give fans the warm fuzzies, even though it's set in the north of Scotland in winter. Colorful Elfrida Phipps, 60-ish and single, has retired from a lifetime on the stage to a country retreat in Hampshire, England. There, she is befriended by Oscar and Gloria Blundell and their 12-year-old daughter, Francesca. Oscar, an organist, is somewhat older than his wife and the Blundells live in Gloria's family house. When Gloria and Francesca die in an automobile accident, Gloria's sons from a previous marriage inform Oscar that they are selling the property and he must leave. Elfrida persuades the grief-stricken, penniless Oscar to return to his childhood haunt, Corrydale, in Creagan, Scotland. His grandmother's grand estate is now a hotel, but the former estate manager's house is vacant and still belongs to the family. With few ties herself, Elfrida moves with Oscar to Creagan, where he plans to escape the upcoming Christmas festivities and the sad memories they will arouse. A distant relative of Elfrida's is also looking for a quiet place to spend the holidays. Beautiful, stylish 30-year-old Carrie Sutton is escaping a painful love affair. She has rescued her 14-year-old niece, Lucy, from Lucy's neglectful mother and grandmother, and the two seek asylum with Elfrida and Oscar. When handsome, successful, separated Sam Howard knocks on their homey door in a snowstorm, there is nothing to be done but invite him to stay, and the five souls from three generations find Christmas isn't so sad, after all. As her devoted readers have learned to expect, Pilcher's fond descriptions of domestic detail and her atmospheric evocation of the Scottish landscape add substance to a predictable but heartwarming plot. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate; Reader's Digest Select Edition; audio rights to Random House. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her new novel, Pilcher (The Shell Seekers) takes us to northern Scotland, where five vaguely connected people find themselves together at Christmas in a large Victorian house. They plan to "go pagan and celebrate the Winter Solstice with a lamb chop" but instead create a proper Christmas and soon come as close to one another as they are to the families from which they have been disenfranchised by death and cruel abandonment. Elfrida, a lonely retired actress, befriends Oscar, who is barely surviving the grief of the deaths of his wife and daughter in a car crash. Carrie, bereft after an aborted love affair, takes over the holiday care of her 14-year-old niece, Lucy, who is unwanted by her mother, grandmother, and indifferent father. Sam, in town to take charge of the old woolen mill, is reeling because his wife left him for another man. What lifts this saga above melodrama is the author's skill at creating believable, multifaceted characters with rich inner lives who sustain one another with good sense and gentle humor. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/00; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections.]DMolly Gorman, San Marino, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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