The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

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Bring on the Summer! Elin Hilderbrand, the queen of Summer beach reads, has created yet another fast-paced, intriguing, and highly addictive Nantucket-based beach novel full of secrets and romance. The Perfect Couple will be released on June 19th, and I highly suggest it!

Some popular characters from some of Elin’s previous novels make an appearance, including police chief Ed Kapenash.  The Chief and Nick, a state policeman known as “the Greek” and known by his movie-star good looks, are tasked with investigating the death of 29 year old Merritt Monaco, who was found floating on the each in the wee hours of the morning by Celeste Otis, the bride-to-be, on the day of the wedding. Merritt was Celeste’s best friend and maid of honor. As Ed and Nick begin to question those who were with Merritt up until her very last hour, more and more secrets will be exposed. The story flashes back to when Celeste, an assistant zoo director, first met her husband-to-be, Benji Winbury. The Winbury’s are extremely wealthy and have more money than they even know what to do with, a lifestyle which causes Celeste to feel uncomfortable and question her own upbringing at times. Benji’s mother, Greer, a mystery novelist, has made it her mission to hold the most lavish, memorable wedding Nantucket has seen in a while. Celeste is preoccupied by her mother’s declining health, as she is in the final battle with stage 4 cancer. Celeste wants to make her parents proud, and Benji is a perfect gentleman who will be able to provide for her every need and whim.  But is that more important than love? On the outside, Benji and Celeste appear to be the perfect couple. So, why did Celeste have a bag packed ready to leave the island hours before the wedding, when she was interrupted by the tragic discovery of her best friend’s body on the beach. Why would a happy bride-to-be be planning to leave her groom at the altar? And, perhaps the more intriguing question, with whom was she planning to leave the island with? Readers won’t find out the truth about Merritt’s untimely death until the final chapter.

This is one of my favorites from Hilderband, and I’ve read them all.  There is quite a bit more mystery involved in this novel than in her previous books. As with all of Elin’s stories, the paradise-like setting of Nantucket in all its island splendor is reverently portrayed, causing readers to be transported into the story and really get to know the characters. The beaches, night life, farmer’s markets, seafood, lavish homes, and the ferry rides all combine for a sensory overload. I’ve got to travel to Nantucket some day so that I can see it all with my own eyes. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I promise you’ll love it!

 

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It Started with Paris by Cathy Kelly

Of course I had to read this book when I saw that one of my absolute favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand, enjoyed it so much. I have to agree with Elin, I too, “savored every page.” The book is highly character driven, which makes for a fast paced read. The only slight fault I would find with the book is that there are a ton of characters to try and keep straight. In the beginning, I got a bit confused as I was getting to know all of the characters, but the way the story was written worked very well. Readers are able to meet characters a little at a time throughout the story so they look forward to going back and forth between and finding out more details. The story takes place in Ireland, and it all begins when Kate and Michael become engaged in Paris. Soon, the reader meets both Kate’s and Michael’s parents and siblings, as well as some others connected to the young couple in some way or another. There is sweet, well-timed romance without any steamy scenes or rotten language. At times, I found myself laughing out loud about the predicaments the characters found themselves in. And in other moments, I had tears rolling down my face for the beautiful moments, especially during Michael’s wedding speech. Well done, Cathy Kelly! I hope you write many more novels for us to enjoy. This story will be published on August 4, 2015 by Grand Central Publishing.