Friday, August 16, 2013

Beautiful Day (Elin Hilderbrand)

Elin Hilderbrand is, in my eyes, the queen of the summer novel.  I would classify most of her books as chick lit with heart and substance.  They’re not by any means mindless fluff but always tell a good story where you’re rooting for the characters to have happy endings.  This is again the case with her latest, Beautiful Day.

Hilderbrand sets her novels on the island of Nantucket, and if her writing doesn’t get you itching to visit there, I don’t know what will.  In this case, the book is told from the points of view of a family gathering there for a wedding.  Jenna and Stuart are the bride and groom, but surprisingly, they are not given much of a voice.  Beautiful Day is mainly narrated by Margot (sister of the bride), Doug (father of the bride), and Ann (mother of the groom), who all have many problems and issues in their lives.  But the real presence in Beautiful Day is Beth, Jenna’s mother, who passed away a few years before of cancer.  Beth knew she wasn’t going to see Jenna’s wedding day, and so put together The Notebook, a diary of advice for her daughter.  Even though at times it feels like Beth is pushing her flower, dress color, and photographer choices on Jenna, you realize that a mother is often there to offer her opinions as her daughter approaches the big day.  Beth would not be, however.

This novel could very well have been taken over-the-top with schmaltz, but it wasn’t by any means.  Let’s face it…Hilderbrand’s books are not about espionage or spies.  They are books with lots of heart with characters that effortlessly weave into each other’s lives.  You’ll be just as happy reading Beautiful Day on the beach in June as you would be on a winter’s day by the fire.