As anyone who has lived for very long at all knows, life, like most family holidays, promises us all things bright and shiny but often delivers some somber tones along with them. That is certainly the case for the last in a set of four winter-themed books by the queen of the summer novel, Elin Hilderbrand.

In “Winter Solstice,” Hilderbrand returns once again to Nantucket Island and the Quinn family. Readers of the series will remember the Quinns are a family grounded by father, Kelley, who took his children, Ava, Patrick and Kevin to Nantucket when he left the world of high finance, and his famous newscaster wife, Margaret, behind for good. There, Kelley opened an inn with his second wife, Mitzi, and had a son, Bart. Previous books in the Winter Street series have dealt with the relationships between the older Quinn children, their mother Margaret, their spouses and children and with Kelley’s relationship with Mitzi. All the while, everyone wondered if anyone would ever get to see Bart again as he had been taken captive while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan.

In “Winter Solstice,” Hilderbrand explores Bart’s feelings as he tries to return to the world he had inhabited as a child even as it is forever changing due to a cancer diagnosis that befell Kelley as the previous book in the series, “Winter Storms,” ended.

Will Bart find the strength to rejoin the world or will he keep his head down and let his siblings deal with their father’s illness? How will the rest of the family deal with the threat to the family patriarch? The answers to those questions await those who will read “Winter Solstice,” and they are beautifully woven into a tale that makes each member of the Quinn family feel like a long lost friend to the reader. Reading each of books in the Winter Street series is a lot like being welcomed home to a place one has never been before by a family one never knew, but belonged to none the less.

Hilderbrand is at her best when telling the secrets that most families try to hide from the outside world and those that they try desperately to share with each other. And she is at her best in “Winter Solstice.”

Readers who will find this book to be impossible to put down will include those with small children, parents, siblings, friends, problems, joys, work, and passions. In short, everyone will find the book hard to leave until the very last word.

To get the most out of the stories, read the books in order starting with “Winter Street,” “Winter Stroll,” “Winter Storms” and “Winter Solstice.”