The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

9780316375191_91b3aThe Identicals will be released on June 13, 2017. It’s definitely going to be a hit summer beach read, as are most of Elin’s novels.

Elin Hilderbrand’s novels have a way of transporting me into the story with such force that I can think of nothing else but the characters. I’ve no shame in admitting that my mind was wandering during the sermon on Sunday, thinking about Harper and Tabitha, looking forward to finishing the book during naptime. I look forward to her books with such intense anticipation, but then I read them too fast. Then, I am left wishing that I would have savored them at a slower pace.

Twin sisters Tabitha and Harper are as different as can be, even though they look identical. It’s fitting for Hilderbrand to write this story, as she is also a twin, though not an identical. Readers will appreciate her authentic voice as the author, fully aware of the unique relationship between twins. The story unfolds in alternating points of view between Harper and Tabitha, but also between the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket themselves.

Harper lives with her father, Billy, on Martha’s Vineyard and Tabitha lives with her mother on Nantucket. Where Harper is laid back and reckless, her twin sister Tabitha is dignified and methodical. Harper is often the subject of gossip on the island, and her current love interest happens to be Billy’s married doctor. She’s made a few mistakes, but she could care less what people think of her. Their mother, Eleanor Roxie-Frost, a famous fashion designer, owns clothing boutiques which carry her brand and designs. Tabitha works for her mother in the Nantucket boutique, and caters to Eleanor’s every whim, while also trying to ride out the moods and rebellion of her teenage daughter, Ainsley. Though the twins only live 11 miles apart on separate islands, they haven’t seen each other for more than a decade. Since they were teenagers and the fateful day they were forced to split up, one moving to Martha’s Vineyard with Billy and one staying on Nantucket with Eleanor, Harper and Tabitha have avoided each other at all costs.

The drama escalates when the twins decide to switch islands in order to handle matters for their parents in the best possible way. Billy’s house needs remodeled and sold, a task which Tabitha is best fit. What she discovers over in the Vineyard may change her outlook on the future, at least where her love life is concerned. Over in Nantucket, however, the boutique needs a fresh outlook and Ainsley needs some adult supervision and encouragement. Will Harper be able to handle her sister’s matters, or will she disappoint her and drive them further apart? Her love life is a hot mess, so she figures that getting a little distance from the Vineyard and all the gossip won’t hurt.

You will not be disappointed with this story. It is full of humorous moments, tender family situations, heartbreak, love, and even a few (sorta) steamy romantic scenes. It has everything readers would want for a summer beach read. I read the book in one evening! Elin also compares and contrasts Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket as sister islands which are unique, much like Harper and Tabitha.

The Identicals ripped my heart out and pieced it back together with the final chapter, narrated by Fish (a dog), Harper’s faithful companion and best friend. This was a clever and fitting way to end such a beautiful story. I can hardly wait for her next summer novel to be released!

Advertisements

Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand

9780316396769_c4658Winter Storms, which will release on October 4, 2016, is the third and final installment in the Winter Street trilogy, which is Elin Hilderbrand’s annual Holiday Nantucket story of the Quinn family. I look forward to more time with the Quinn family every season, but just like Christmas festivities each year, the story always ends far too soon.

The Quinn family is never short on drama, especially near the Holidays. This season, however, it’s the Quinn women who are keeping us on our toes. The youngest Quinn sibling, Bart, is still missing, captured as a prisoner of war in Afghanistan. Bart’s family has not lost hope that he is alive and will be home someday, but their busy lives on Nantucket continue. Margaret is planning a Christmas wedding to her long time beau, Drake. Meanwhile, her daughter Ava’s love life is a bit crazy. Ava is dating two men, Nathaniel and Scott, but is unable to decide which one she should settle down with permanently. She’ll take a trip with Margaret, where she’ll meet another potential suitor, and as they say, three’s a crowd. Who will win Ava’s heart, or will it be too late? Will she swear off men for good and decide to only worry about her own happiness? Or can she have both love and happiness in the future?

As Patrick is  to be released from prison, Jennifer is in over her head with a major pain pill addiction. Everyone was amazed at how Jennifer kept herself and her family together while Patrick was incarcerated, but what they didn’t know is that Jennifer was barely functioning without the help of an old acquaintance-turned-dealer supplying her pills. Will Jennifer ever be able to redeem herself once the Quinns find out that she really isn’t perfect? How can she face her mother-in-law, Margaret, to whom she admires so greatly?

With weddings and celebration on everyone’s mind, Kevin decides to take the plunge and marry Isabelle on Christmas eve at the Inn. They pray that by some miracle, Bart will be home to join in the festivities. But as they receive a bit of good news, a whopper of a winter storm strikes, threatening to keep the Quinns from reuniting at the Inn for the wedding and Christmas. You’ll have to read to find out who will make it to the wedding, as well as who Ava will choose or not choose to be her leading man. I can honestly say that this has been one of my all-time favorite series. The Quinns are a rather likable bunch, even with their flaws, and I admire the way they treat each other with respect and love throughout the trials they face. It’s also really cool how they embrace those that aren’t actually family, but feel like family – such as George, the Santa Claus. There is truly never a dull moment in the Winter Street Inn!

Thank you to Little, Brown, and Company for an advanced copy of this book.

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

heres to us

Here’s to Us will be published on June 14, 2016 by Hachette Book Group.

Deacon Thorpe, celebrity chef and well-known bad boy with a healthy appetite for living life to the fullest, has passed away unexpectedly at his summer cottage in Nantucket. Left behind are two ex-wives, his widow, and three children (one from each marriage). The only connection between Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett is their love and devotion for Deacon, even after his many faults, addictions, and poor decisions. His three wives couldn’t be any more different. Laurel was his high school sweetheart, Belinda is a high-profile actress who won him over with money and glamour, and Scarlett was the younger, bombshell nanny which he couldn’t resist.

Deacon’s will designates that the whole family gather at the Nantucket cottage to spread his ashes at sea, which brings us to the story. His family, along with his best friend, Buck, begrudgingly head for Nantucket to spend the weekend together. As if the story needed to be livened up even more; Buck has always had his eyes on Deacon’s first wife, Laurel. There is also a bit of drama going on with each of Deacon’s adult children, Angie and Hayes. Throwing these headstrong, grieving family members together in cramped quarters (with a lot of wine and whiskey, of course) makes for some interesting confrontations, to say the least. As memories of Deacon are shared and secrets are uncovered, tensions run high and some surprisings things occur. The plot moves along rather quickly, all taking place during one weekend, with flashbacks to the past mixed in to give readers background information on each of the women’s relationships with Deacon.

Sound like a crazy plot? It is! But, as always, Elin Hilderbrand makes it work oh so well, with just the right amount of humor, drama, romance, and cat fights. She has created the recipe for a great romantic drama which readers will absolutely love until the very last page. Another really cool addition to this book are the actual recipes that are included, such as Deacon’s famous Fluffy White Champagne Cake with Champagne Candied Strawberries and Clams Casino Dip, to name a few. As with all of her novels, Elin set this story in her hometown of Nantucket, causing readers such as myself to long for the quaint streets and beautiful beaches. I would love to visit Nantucket some day and catch a glimpse of some of the places mentioned in her novels. I loved this book, and I can’t wait for it to be released this summer.

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s been much too long since I have been immersed in the Quinn family, with all of their romantic drama and hilarious situations. I truly enjoyed this book, but the only problem is that it ended far too soon and with many cliffhangers to boot!

Winter Stroll is the second installment in the Winter Street series, and I do hope Elin Hilderbrand doesn’t leave us hanging without many more books to come. Readers cannot help but fall in love with the characters, despite each of their faults or mistakes. Winter Stroll is an annual weekend in Nantucket in which the street is closed and visitors and residents shop and gather together to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. It also happens to be the weekend of the newest Quinn family member’s baptism, which is cause for a Quinn family celebration.

This winter season finds Kelley alone after his second wife, Mitzi left him last winter for the annual Winter Street Inn Santa Claus, George, after a 12 year affair. Kevin, his French girlfriend Isabelle, and their newborn, Genevieve, also live at the Inn with Kelley, where Kevin and Isabelle manage most of the day-to-day affairs. Kelley’s daughter, Ava, an elementary music teacher, also holds residence at the Inn, and she is still dating Scott, the school’s assistant principal. The oldest sibling, Patrick, is serving his time in jail after being charged with insider trading, while his wife Jennifer and three young sons try to keep the home fires burning until he is released in the summer. Jennifer, always the good girl and pleasing everyone, has developed a bad habit of her own as she struggles to deal with the stress. Kelley and Mitzi’s son, Bart, a Marine, is still missing after being captured in Afghanistan last Christmas.

The Quinn family, though quite dysfunctional, is loving and resilient. One of the things I love most about them is that they do not hold long grudges, but embrace the current, former, and future family members with love and acceptance.

On the weekend of the annual Winter Stroll in Nantucket, quite a few individuals from the Quinn family’s past happen to be in town and cause quite a stir.  There’s Nathaniel, Ava’s former heart-throb boyfriend, Norah, Kevin’s estranged ex-wife, and Mitzi, who is having an awful time worrying about her only son Bart, and missing Kelley as well.

And to top off the fun, Kelley’s first wife and mother to Patrick, Kevin, and Ava, Margaret, a famed Today show anchor is spending the weekend at the Winter Street Inn with her family, and her new boyfriend, a well-to-do surgeon who has never really minded being without a family until meeting Margaret.

As with Winter Street, Winter Stroll has plunged me into the holiday spirit longing for cozy nights beside the Christmas tree with its twinkling lights. The story is pure enjoyment, with lighthearted moments, love triangles galore, jealousy, rekindled romances, forgiveness, longing, and perhaps most important of all, hope for the future. A beautiful story through and through.

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The Rumor will be published on June 16, 2015.

Elin Hilderbrand has done it again – created a beautiful story that I absolutely couldn’t put down! Although her books are mostly all set during the summer on the island of Nantucket, she manages to create distinctly different story lines and characters that blend perfectly. The Rumor is a story of Grace and Madeline, who have been friends forever. As each woman deals with their own family issues and stress, rumors start to swirl throughout town. One thing I really loved is that each chapter has a different character perspective, and Elin gives makes the island of Nantucket a character in itself. The chapters titled Nantucket are informative about just how skewed actual events become when they are turned into rumors. I found myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of some of the rumors. Another awesome thing is that Elin wrote this book while also battling breast cancer, and as such, she dedicated it to her doctors and medical staff. I won’t give away much about the plot, because you have to read it for yourself to fully appreciate the story. No spoilers! I absolutely loved this book. Thanks, Elin, for keeping my must-have-great-books addiction in control.

Winter Street – by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Street was wonderful. I picked it up and read it cover to cover in one marathon reading session because it was so good. Elin Hilderbrand has a knack for hooking the reader with real family drama that the reader must keep reading to find out the outcomes. In years past, Starbucks lattes have been known to throw me into the Holiday spirit. However, this year, I can say for certain that it was Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand. After finishing the book, I just want to make a Christmas dinner and decorate cookies with my mother. The book had many humorous moments that left me laughing out loud. Also included was some romance, but not over the top romance. I love the way Elin weaves in a little romance without being too “Fifty Shades”-ish. Even though the plot weaves back and forth between family members, the story is seamless and intriguing the whole way through. The ending leaves us hanging quite a bit, but that simply means there is hope for a forthcoming series. That makes me happy and excited. Thank you, Elin, for writing such wonderful stories.