Solstice Wood is a sequel to Winter Rose, and it’s also an interesting study of the variability of the author’s writing style.
In the present day, Sylvia Lynn, the great-great-great granddaughter of Rois in Winter Rose, is called back to Lynn Hall when her grandfather Liam dies. Sylvia left Lynn Hall as soon as she was old enough, haunted by the question of who her father was, and knowing that the answer to that question puts her at odds with her home.
This is a different world than that of Winter Rose: generations of women in the village have worked to close off the doors to the realm of faery, believing that the fey are deadly and dangerous. Sylvia’s arrival as the new heir of Lynn Hall brings this ancient struggle to a head.
What I really loved about this book was the contrasts with Winter Rose. Winter Rose is my favorite example of McKillip’s way with words, and Solstice Wood stands in contrast to that. Her modern stories tend towards more modern language, and this book trends a careful path, bringing richness to the fore the more the fey characters as able to travel back to the modern world that they’ve been kept away from. I still liked Winter Rose the barest bit better, but this is a worthy sequel.