Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Castaways (Elin Hilderbrand)

I’m slowly working my way through Elin Hilderbrand’s repertoire, my latest being The Castaways.  The setting, as usual, is the author’s hometown of Nantucket; after reading so many of her novels, I really need to get there!  Part soap opera, part unsolved mystery, The Castaways is the perfect mental escape.

Four couples have become the best of friends since meeting on the island.  Some are related (Tess and Andrea), some have even dated each other in the past (Jeffrey and Andrea), but all have secrets.  After an accused infidelity, Tess and Greg are trying to repair their marriage by taking a sailing trip.  Unfortunately, they do not come back alive, causing a sordid web of backstory and grief.  Hilderbrand lets each character (except Tess and Greg) narrate as the huge puzzle they’ve all gotten themselves into slowly comes together.

While I enjoyed The Castaways and found it difficult to put down, I was not enthralled with the ending.  You never really know the true story of how Tess and Greg died; Hilderbrand lets the theories of the other characters influence your conclusions.  I’m all for open endings, but in a supposed mystery, this is ridiculous.  How did a piece of Tess’s hair get ripped out?  Why did Greg have cuts and bruises? 

However, the soap opera of the novel is what truly keeps it going.  Some characters are more likable than others, but all have interesting stories to tell.  This is a great, breezy read for vacation…just not a sailing trip!