Thursday, July 14, 2016

Here's to Us - Elin Hilderbrand

My beach bag reading list wouldn't be complete without the latest Elin Hilderbrand novel. This summer's new title is Here's to Us.

Hilderbrand takes us back to her favourite setting - Nantucket. Her descriptions of the island and locale make me want to visit - or better yet - live in a lovely old wooden cottage by the ocean.

One of those cottages has been the vacation home of one man, Deacon Thorpe -  and over the years - his three wives and children. But with Deacon's death, the three women and their families have gathered at the cottage to spread Deacon's ashes.

They may have all loved Deacon, but they can't stand each other. This forced togetherness brings up the past both good and bad.

It took me a few chapters to put all the characters in their place - who was who, who was related etc. Once I had that down, I formed an attachment with some - first wife Lauren, adopted daughter Angie from marriage number two and local guide JP. I was torn on how I felt about Deacon - he was a conflicted man, but loved his children. Wives two and three (Scarlet and Belinda) were horrid, vapid, vindictive and shallow. Supporting male characters were a mixed bag. I was confused by Deacon's best friend Buck's actions - his long time attraction to Laurel is thrown away for a few minutes of sex with one of the other exes. I found this somewhat jarring and not what I expected from Hilderbrand.

But without having characters that aren't likable, we wouldn't have the tension, recriminations, secrets and ultimately at the end, a form of resolution. I'm sure that some of Hilderbrand's situations are not that far from the truth for some. Food plays a part as well, with many of Deacon's recipes included.

Here's to Us is a good escapist beach read, but I've enjoyed other Hilderbrand novels more. Read an excerpt of Here's to Us.  You can connect with Elin Hilderbrand on her website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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