SUMMERLAND: a recommendation
When I asked you Facebook fans for book recommendations, Summerland was mentioned several times. So I read it, loved it, recommend it. Here’s why.
Sense of place. The setting is Nantucket, where the author, Elin Hilderbrand, has lived since 1984, and she knows the island well. From the very first page, you’ll see it, smell it, hear it.
Immediacy. The plot centers on the tight-knit island community, so idyllic, yet vulnerable. As soon as we’ve fallen in love with the place (“Absolutely have to go there …”), we learn of a tragic automobile accident that occurs on the night of the high school graduation. The story that follows details the fallout of this accident.
Real characters. I could see them, feel for and with them, and appreciate their flaws as some of my own.
Huge range of emotions. Given the subject matter, you understand why this is so. Aside from the opening and closing pages, the book is written in the third person, with alternating chapters designated for each of the major characters. This does entail a certain amount of shifting gears on our part, but Hilderbrand is a skilled enough writer to make it work.
That said, if you prefer books that offer an in-depth emotional experience through a single point of view, you’ll be frustrated. Likewise, if you don’t like flashbacks. The story goes back and forth in time as it elaborates on each character in detail. I have to confess that I grew impatient at times, wanting to know what was happening in the here and now, rather than wading through backstories of less pivotal characters. That said, Hilderbrand writes beautifully. Her prose is smooth and revealing, consistent (as is the title) with the feel of Nantucket.
This isn’t a light book. It’s about teenage angst, parental angst, marital angst. The setting is magical, but the problems are real. And yet the outcome is uplifting. Hang onto it!
If you’d like to read more of Barbara’s book reviews, sign up for her newsletter here. You can also find her on Instagram where she frequently shares photos of her photography, family, and travels.
Want an insider peek to all things writing? Join her street team!
Barbara, My favorite book of all time and one that I re-read at least once a year and is called “The Outlander” by Diana Gibaldon. It’s the first in a series but is the only one I go back to. This story has adventure, love, fact and fantasy, and it’s a page turner with thrilling events and memorable characters. It’s Scotland in the era of Lairds and Ladies and it is unforgettable. You should read it for the sheer pleasure of it. Don’t be put off at the beginning premise….you won’t be able to put it down, I promise.
I have read Outlander and it is a wonderful book! I have not read the others. Which of the others would be worth reading?
Thank you for reading Hildebrand, Barbara. I had written a comment saying she and summer go together.:-)
Thanks for the recommendation, Linda!
I read Hilderbrand’s Summer People last week while vacationing in the Outer Banks and really enjoyed it. My 18 y/o daughter and I were reading at the same time, and it was the perfect book for us to explore together.
I also received a big surprise with YOUR name on it in my inbox, forwarded from Hilary, while there! Thank you so much! You’ll be receiving a much more personal thank you than this, but I couldn’t resist commenting on this post!
GLad you enjoyed it … it was a great read for me. Can’t wait for SSA!
I just googled your name to see if you had any new books coming out? I just finished reading Robyn Carr’s book, and although it w good, you remain my favorite author.
I read the first four titles in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon a number of years ago. They are all excellent and really keep your interest. I definately recommend them. I have purchased the next three (The Firey Cross, Breath of Snow and Ashes and An Echo in the Bone) and know the once I start them again I will have to read all three in a row!
Looking forward to reading Sweet Salt Air. You are still my favorite author, Barbara, and have recommended your titles to many a customer in the book store where I worked!