I’m surprised, I liked Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, but Winter Street was painful to read.
At first, I thought maybe I was missing pages or something in my book because of the way it started… I wasn’t fully awake when I started this book, so I reread the pages at least three times to make sure I wasn’t just too tired to function and form thoughts. Nope, it just really jumped right in.
I’m all about some humorous family situations, but this was just…bad. On the first page of the book, an innkeeper, Kelley, walks into a room to find his wife kissing the man who plays Santa Claus at the inn. This happens on December 23, and somehow Kelley is recovered enough to invite them to Christmas dinner. His soon-to-be-ex-wife and the guy she cheated on him with for 12 years!? Invited to Christmas dinner merely 2 days after he discovered them? Nah. No person in their right mind would do that.
And the book didn’t get better from there, unfortunately. Ava, one of the narrators, was going through her phone in the first chapter. I was reading texts and messages from other characters we hadn’t met yet…and Ava was “screaming in frustration” from some of the texts. I couldn’t even tell why she was so upset because I didn’t know a single thing about Ava except for that her name was Ava. So, I felt like I was a fly on the wall of a very awkward moment with absolutely no context. Immediately, I felt that Ava was immature and selfish based on this first interaction.
My problem with Ava kept growing… She talked and acts like a child, but is an adult. I had to triple check, but as she was getting drunk and talking about her teaching career, I realized she must be an adult. She wants to get a ring from a guy she’s dating, and she isn’t getting it, so she sulks. She pouts about getting rubber boots from him! They were probably Hunter boots–which is a practical and nice gift, certainly not something I would sulk about, or throw across the room. Also, Ava, a grown woman, I must remind you again, calls her boyfriend “stupid” and “stinky.” I kid you not. Here’s the quote: “She feels pretty, she feels sexy–and stupid, stinky Nathaniel is missing it!” Is she 12? Maybe.
Then that leads me to the quality of writing, which was poor. Some things were repeated, there was a lot of exclamation marks and italics in the book to emphasize words, which I always find a little bit annoying, and I had a lot of trouble following the thought process behind a lot of things. It was told by a lot of different characters, they each had their own section to talk. There was one character who was in the book, but didn’t have a point of view of her own or any other narration, until 20 pages left of the book! And it was 2 sentences. Two sentences. It added absolutely nothing to the book.
Finally, there was a sentence at the beginning of a paragraph (Ava’s POV of course) that read: “Fun, fun, fun, chitchat, happy holidays!” How is that a sentence that makes it into a published book?
Ok, so obviously I didn’t like this book that much and I had some fundamental issues with it… I do think that Elin Hilderbrand is clearly a good writer, she has so many books out! And I enjoyed Winter in Paradise, although I did listen to that one and didn’t read it. Maybe this book is just a fluke for me? I guess I need to read at least one more to see if I like her as an author or not!