Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Published: July 6, 2010
Genre: contemporary fiction
Audiobook: 12 discs
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement.
It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she's embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store - a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.
But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known. It's a summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell, filled with the heartache, laughter, and surprises that have made her page-turning, bestselling novels as much a part of summer as a long afternoon on a sunny beach.
My Thoughts: I really enjoy Elin Hilderbrand's novels and decided that I should give her a shot in the form of an audiobook. I tend to get wrapped up in her stories and feel like I am taken away to the island of Nantucket. This book was no different. Following four women from the same family, two grown women who are sisters and one of the women's two daughters, Hilderbrand tells the story of how each of these women deals with love and loss and how it affects them at the various stages of their lives. Each chapter is told from a different character's point of view, so you are able to get inside each woman's head and understand how she feels about certain things.
Birdie, mother to Chess and Tate, divorced her husband a few years ago and is on the rebound, starting to date. She hasn't been to her family's summer home in ages (her ex-husband hated the place), so she decides that it's time to return. She is very motivated and seems to be the perfect mother, but we do realize as the story progresses that she is still a woman, dealing with some insecurities. Then there is her sister, India. She is the wife of a great sculptor, who committed suicide some years ago. She has three boys of her own and is comfortable with who she is and where she is in life, until one student changes what she thought about herself. India is probably the one who shows the most growth without being in your face about it, which I liked a lot. I enjoyed her chapters and hearing about her relationship with Lula.
Then there are the two girls. Chess is reeling from ending her engagement to a wonderful man, only to have him die shortly there after. She feels guilty for his death and ends up cutting off all her hair and quitting her job as a magazine editor. Chess really made me think about how I would feel in that situation. Even if he was an ex, it's something that is shocking to deal with, but how would I handle it? Then there is Tate. She is plucky and spirited and determined to find love at Tuckernuck. For me, Tate was annoying. She was so emotional and over involved in everything. She also came off as very immature, pouting when things didn't go her way. I also thought it was just too perfect how her relationship with Barrett worked out. It just got to be annoying.
Whie I did enjoy this audiobook, I think I'm going to stick to reading Hilderbrand's book the old-fashioned way in the future. I didn't always feel that connection that I have with her characters, but the story was still great, and perfect for the end of summer.