Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Winter Stroll - Review & Giveaway

Review by Darcie Czajkowski
The holidays are a magical time. There’s caroling and decorations, hot toddies and warm apple cider. Family visits from near and afar, and people are just a little bit kinder than the rest of the year.

But life doesn’t stop in December and, often times, the holiday can amplify problems, and everything seems more chaotic. That’s when family can step up and help you through those times. And for the Quinn family, they may need each other more than ever this year.

Picking up where things left off in Hilderbrand’s Winter Street, Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn and his wife Mitzi’s son, Bart, is still missing in Afghanistan. His likely capture by a dangerous extremist group has driven Mitzi to drink. Too much. Too often. And her state of mind isn’t ameliorated by her decision to take up residence with the Inn’s former Santa Claus, George, with whom she used to have a once-a-year affair. But when the Santa suit comes off in Lenox, Massachusetts, everyday isn’t full of Christmas cheer. She misses Kelley, plain and simple, and returns to Nantucket for the baptism of Kelley’s grandchild, the daughter of Kelley’s son with his first wife, Margaret.

Margaret will also be there. Drake, the pediatric surgeon she’s been dating for several years, the one who works too much and wouldn’t take the time off to go to Nantucket for the baptism, surprises Margaret by showing up on Nantucket. He may have another surprise up his sleeve as well.

Kevin Quinn has come a long way since last year. Now he’s happily engaged to Isabelle, the Inn’s manager, and their daughter, Genevieve, is about to be baptized. The entire family will be present for the service and celebration. Everyone except Kevin’s two brothers.

First, there’s Bart. Missing in action. Potentially a P.O.W.

Then there’s Patrick, who is currently serving time in jail for insider trading. His wife, Jennifer, whom Kevin and his siblings see as a sister, is holding down the fort with their three boys. Or is she? The boys aren’t making things easy on her, and she’s found a way of coping, albeit a highly dangerous one.

At least Ava, Kevin’s sister, will be there to see her niece get baptized. Or will she? When her ex-boyfriend, her long-time love who wouldn’t commit, returns to Nantucket, he insists he made a huge mistake and wants her back. But now Ava’s dating sweet Scott, who is the best boyfriend she could ever ask for. Or is he?

When the Quinn family plus George and Drake come together for the baptism, there is laughter, tears, and a whole lot of drama, especially when Kevin’s conniving ex-wife shows up out of the blue and stirs the pot, calling into question whether there will even be a baptism after all.  

Filled with realistic family dynamics and a juicy plot, Winter Stroll is the perfect follow-up to last year’s Winter Street. Hilderbrand excels at escalating drama and chapter-end cliffhangers, which made me want to read the entire book in one sitting. For a rather short story, I applaud the character development that Hilderbrand achieved and appreciated that her characters covered a wide range of personalities. Winter Stroll is a reminder that life doesn’t become perfect around the holidays, but with family to hold us together, we can all be filled with the Christmas spirit.

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About the Author:
Elin Hilderbrand does her best writing on the beaches of Nantucket, as well as on the charming streets of Beacon Hill in Boston. She has three magical children who beg her not to sing along to the radio or dance in public.Winter Stroll is her sixteenth novel.

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Little, Brown and Company is giving two lucky winners print copies of
Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand
Open Internationally!

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