Book reviews


After reading just about everything Elin Hilderbrand has published, I’ve become a little bit obsessed by Nantucket, an island off Massachusetts, the setting of Winter Street and other novels by this author.

I’ve Googled the beaches and the lighthouse, checked the weather report and the price of real estate. I’ve even read about Nantucket’s history, and I’ve obviously laughed at Nantucket limericks, (mostly unrepeatable, but very funny).

Winter Street was an enjoyable story which I ended up finishing late last night. Usually I’m fairly rigid about bedtime, as I get up early and work quite long hours, but this author has the ability to make me keep turning the pages, even though I know I will suffer the next day.

Winter Street starts with Kelley Quinn walking in on his second wife, Mitzi, kissing George, a family friend who stays with them in their Nantucket Winter Street Inn every year over the Christmas holiday. It emerges that Mitzi and George have been having a Christmas affair for 12 years, and that Mitzi has already packed her bags, because this year, she and George are making their fling permanent.

Kelley’s adult children from his first marriage also feature in this story. Ava is in love with someone who doesn’t love her, Kevin is seen by his family as a loser and Patrick, the oldest of the Quinn children, is an over-achiever who has a guilty conscience. Kelley and Mitzi also have a son, Bart, who used to be a spoiled brat but is now a soldier in Afghanistan.

Kelley’s first wife, Margaret, the mother of Patrick, Ava and Kevin, has her own story too, and she is much more likeable than Mitzi, (although the reader was never going to be on Mitzi’s side after seeing her kissing George through Kelley’s eyes). But, back to Margaret. Margaret and Kelley’s marriage ended amicably when their children were quite small, when Margaret’s career as a journalist took off.

Elin Hilderbrand has the same quality as all of my favourite authors, which is the ability to make me feel as if I know and like, and in some cases, feel very fond of her characters. Her stories can be a little predictable, but that is allowed, because for me, her books are a comfort read.

Perfect reading for a cold winter night in Melbourne.


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