Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Review: Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Summerland by Elin Hilderbran
Little Brown and Company
June 2012
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages

First line: Nantucket: the name of the island brought to mind rolling surf, cobblestone streets, the brick mansions of whaling captains, a battered Jeep Wrangler with a surfboard strapped to the roll bars.

From the inside cover: A perfect summer night ends in a deadly crash - and four lives are changed forever.

On a warm June evening, the students of Nantucket High gather for the traditional graduation bonfire on the beach. But the celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother, Hobby, in a coma. Penny's boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter are unhurt but haunted  by the events of that night, and by the questions that linger about what happened in the car - and what happened in the dunes before Penny took the wheel.

For Zoe, the twins' mother, the unthinkable awaits: life without her daughter, and an agonizing recovery for the son who had been a star athlete with infinite prospects. Free-spirited Zoe has been as much friend as mother to her children, but now she must face devastating truths about them, and about her own role in all that happened.

As summer unfolds, Zoe and the other parents have to ask whether their efforts to protect their children from life's realities have only left them more vulnerable. The key to understanding the accident lies in what Penny learned that evening on the beach - but will it also destroy the survivors' fragile peace?

A gorgeous story about the delicate but enduring bonds of family and community, and about love in its many forms, Summerland is Elin Hilderbrand at her page-turning best.

My thoughts: I have read every book Elin Hilderbrand has ever written and I love them all. I look forward to the late spring/early summer when her new release comes out - not only because I love her stories, but because I know that I will be able to take yet another trip vicariously through the characters to Nantucket.

Summerland is a story about love, loss, and friendship. In the aftermath of a fatal car wreck that takes the life of a young teen, the survivors and their families search for answers to the cause of the crash. As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors, along with secrets, broken promises and broken hearts.

Instead of chapters Summerland is told from each of the characters' point of view and even the townspeople's viewpoints. Through flashbacks, we learn how everyone ended up where they are today. Important facts about the individual people and their families are revealed, bit by bit as the book progresses.

I do have to say that Summerland is a bit different from Elin Hilderbrand's other books. It deals with some heavy issues, but at the same time is a story about love and hope. It reminds us that bad stuff can and, unfortunately, does happen, but many times it is these events that can give us hope for the future.

I love these visits to Nantucket each year and as I have said before, I really do hope to get there myself one day. Have you read anything by Elin Hilderbrand? If so, what was your favorite?

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

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