Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Review: 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbran (audio)

Title: 28 Summers
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Published: June 2020, Hachette Audio
Length: 15 hours 26 minutes
Source: Publisher via

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of '69: Their secret love affair has lasted for decades -- but this could be the summer that changes everything. 

When Mallory Blessing's son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he's not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It's the late spring of 2020 and Jake's wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere -- through marriage, children, and Ursula's stratospheric political rise -- until Mallory learns she's dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

My thoughts: Is it summer if you aren't reading/listening to a new Elin Hilderbrand book? For me it's not. I look forward to getting my hands on her latest one and let me just say...this one is truly something special. I loved it, but that's a hard statement to make when you take a look at what this book is really about. But this is truly Elin at her best that she is able to make this book stand out!

There are so many things I loved about this book - most especially the way each chapter started with a highlight of key events that happened each year. Oh what a fun way to introduce a chapter and talk about flashbacks! I'm not going to spoil anything here, but boy did it bring back some good memories.

I've never seen the classic movie Same Time Next Year, though it is now definitely on my list to watch, but the romantic in me loves this idea of two people meeting up each year on the same weekend. Mallory and Jake have this amazing connection from the moment they meet, but circumstances seem to keep them from being together. All they can give each other is this one weekend...and this book becomes a love story that despite the wrongness of it, is one of the most memorable love stories I've ever read.

As usual, Elin Hilderbrand creates rich, deeply flawed characters that you come to love, and despite their actions, you can't help but want them to find their true happiness. I loved the way the story was crafted, starting at the end of the journey and then going back to the beginning. I loved that in addition to Mallory and Jake, other characters' stories are brought into the fray. It really keeps things fresh and you aren't quite sure what to expect. 

I have read every one of Elin Hilderbrand's books and I think this might be my new favorite. It is absolutely a beautiful, yet heartbreaking love story and I will be recommending it to everyone. I also think it would make a fantastic book club pick - there is so much to discuss here!

Audio thoughts: Erin Bennett has once again nailed an Elin Hilderbrand book. She is just the perfect narrator when it comes to Elin's books. She really gets the nuances of Elin's characters and her writing so that the narration and storytelling just comes naturally. Erin gives each character their own unique voices and personality and her intonation and pacing is spot on. I enjoy listening to Elin's books on audio and Erin Bennett did a good job bringing this story to life!


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