Friday, June 29, 2012

Summerland (Elin Hilderbrand)

When you see someone on the beach with a beverage in her hand, chances are she’s not reading War and Peace or Crime and Punishment.  Summer is a time for what is commonly called “chick lit.”  However, no matter how mindless you want your book to be, some of it can be just plain awful.  Very few books that take place in the summer and are geared towards women can be considered quality books.  Elin Hilderbrand is one of those authors who writes these types of novels…books where you can do your “mind escaping” but completely enjoy the story along the way.  Hilderbrand’s latest, Summerland, will take your breath away.

We begin the night of Nantucket’s high school graduation.  Sitting in the audience are the main cast of characters...Zoe, mother of twins and an established caterer; Hobby, one of her twins; Jordan, the head of the local newspaper; and Jake, Jordan’s son.  Penny (Zoe’s daughter, Hobby’s twin sister, and Jake’s girlfriend) is on stage singing the National Anthem with the voice of an angel.  Later that night, a tragedy occurs that affects the life of every Nantucket resident.

Characters take turns playing the narrator in Summerland, which is very effective at allowing the reader to see the plot from different angles.  Your heart aches for each and every one of them as they deal in their own way with the unimaginable tragedy.  This is the best type of novel…the type that you can’t wait to see the ending, but you also don’t want it to end.  Both Summerland and last year’s Silver Girl were beautiful reads, and I can’t wait to delve further into Hilderbrand’s past books.