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Picturing a World

Winter Solstice: the novel

Andrew Carnegie's Skibo in Sutherland, Scotland, is the estate on which Rosamunde Pilcher based her fictional Corrydale in Winter Solstice. As we approach the meteorological solstice, I'm rereading the novel and was delighted to find this wintry picture and another photo showing the castle in its wider setting. They let me visualize Corrydale better when the characters Carrie and Sam go out there.

Winter Solstice is decidedly middle-brow wish fulfillment that rests blithely on plot coincidences that pure realism would deny. Yet in the Christmas season during a pandemic, why not? Furthermore, as Monica Stark says in a review, "There was a tremendous potential here to create a cloyingly sweet book. Yet Pilcher hasn't. This is partly, I think, due the fact that she seems to feel absolutely no compulsion to follow any type of formula."
One kind of courage is to write the book you want to. If you've got a story that is neither formulaic genre fiction nor the sort that will win narrow critical acclaim but you want to tell it, then do! You will have the reward of enjoying it while your write, and you may even win a big readership (twenty years after publication, Winter Solstice still sells well).

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