In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.
As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.
Review: This was such an enjoyable read that I was able to read it in one day – just kept turning those pages! There were a lot of Quinns to meet both past (ex-wife) and present – Dad, Kelley, second wife Mitzi, kids and grandkids. There were a lot of twists to the story because all of them were facing problems in their lives that they couldn’t solve by themselves – crimes, unexpected love and consequences, secrets that went astray, unrequited love on several fronts, among others. The family while totally dysfunctional were there for each and every one of them when it was needed and their Irishness always shown through. Mom, Margaret, seamlessly slid back into their lives when she came to give moral support even though the family might not need it and didn’t know they might. Having Mitzi and George involved in the family dinner just didn’t seem right. Scott was very different from Nathaniel and Ava could feel the pull from both and was really in a quandary. It was interesting to see how the author gave us the history of the family as a whole as well as the individual members of it and how often Kelley and Margaret’s kids were surprised by what they heard.
I have read books by Hildebrand before and enjoyed them and until I read the blurb on the book jacket hadn’t realized this was her first novel set at Christmas although still in Nantucket. The characters were multifaceted and we got to know each of them a little at a time. The descriptions made me feel that I was there not only in Nantucket but also at the Winter Street Inn with the traditions, decorations, private quarters, smells of the holiday, the carols, the cold and the food – it is a B&B after all!
There was some closure but still so much story to tell especially the way the book ended. A few more chapters or an epilogue would have tied things up better but maybe we’re meant to be back at the Inn at another time. One can only dream – hint, hint! All in all a book that I didn’t want to end even after the last present was unwrapped.
Favorite Quote: Kevin decides the proper course of action is to pour shots of Jameson all around. They are, after all, a family of Irish heritage, their great-grandfather Quinn hailing from County Cork, so whiskey is acceptable in any emergency…