Author: Elin Hilderbrand
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.
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Winter Street is the first novel in the series of the same name that follows the Quinn family. Each chapter is told from the POV of one of the characters, so it is a larger ensemble cast to track. The first is the owner of Winter Street Inn on the island of Nantucket, Kelly Quinn (62), who has three children with his ex-wife, Margaret (59). While Kelly continued with the inn, Margaret continued her career as a successful television news journalist. Together they had three children, Patrick, Kevin (36), and Ava (28). Kelly remarried a younger woman named Mitzi and together they had a son, Bart. As a forewarning, this novel ends with a huge cliffhanger, so it is highly recommended to have the second novel to continue the story.
The story begins with Mitzi leaving Kelly as she says she wants to be the man who played Santa Claus every year, George. Bart has been deployed with the Marines to Afghanistan and is currently not able to communicate with his family. Patrick is a hedge fund manager with some trouble at work. Kevin works as the bartender at the inn and has a secret relationship with another worker, French citizen, Isabelle. As for Ava, a music teacher, she is trying to get her boyfriend, Nathanial, to propose, however, he is away for the holidays. Each character is going through their own dramas along with their family dynamic. The Inn plays a role as the setting for most of the story plus Kelly is thinking of selling it as it is no longer financially profitable, and his interest is fading after Mitzi leaves.
With multiple characters to track with their own stories, it initially takes a long time to keep everyone straight. It is difficult, at times, to connect to the characters as each chapter bounces from one to the next. Since the series does revolve around this entire set of characters, though, there is a lot of time between now and the very last page. I’m actually surprised the length of this novel is shorter, so I wonder if that was done on purpose for certain breaks in the story of if this series should have three instead of four novels. The series itself is okay in terms of story as it is very simple in nature with a lot of drama surrounding this family, but there is potential for me to become attached to them by the end. I look forward to trying out the second novel in the series next!