Book Review · FIction · Romance · Women's Fiction

What Happens in Paradise

In April I participated in a Buddy Read with the We Be Book’N Book Club. I love Elin Hilderbrand books, so I couldn’t wait to jump in.

Summary

Meet Irene Steele. A year ago Irene was shocked to hear the news that her husband, a successful business man and father to her sons, was killed in a helicopter crash. What she was even more shocked to hear was that her husband had been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where there was another woman that loved him too.

Through a series of circumstances, Irene and her son’s find themselves back on the island of St. John. They are there to learn the truth about the husband/father they thought they knew and unravel the mystery of who this man actually was. As Irene and her son’s learn more about the man they thought they knew, they also learn more about themselves and begin to think about putting the pieces back together and forging a future.

This is the 2nd book in the Paradise Series by Elin Hilderbrand.

Review

I have read many of Elin Hilderbrand’s books over the years, and as always, she does not disappoint with the story she tells. Elin Hilderbrand does a wonderful job in weaving together the tragedy that a family suffers after the death of a loved one, along with positive plans for the future and happiness. What could have been a dark depressive book, was a wonderful story of loss, grief, love, uncertainty, and hope for the future. Elin Hilderbrand’s style of writing pulls you into the story and weaves you into the lives of the charters in the story she is telling. She braids you into their lives in a way that makes you believe that you are part of their family and part of the life they are living. And when you finish a book, they always leave you wanting more and wondering what happens to the charters after you read the last page. I love Elin Hilderbrand’s books and will continue to read each one she publishes!!!

Of note, this is the 2nd book in the Paradise Series. I did not realize this when I began this book and really wish I would have read the first book in the series first. If you take anything away from this review, other than Elin Hilderbrand is a fantastic author, take away that you should read this series in the order that they were written.

Rating

About the Author

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Adult Fiction · Book Review · FIction · Historical Fiction

Summer of ’69

I don’t know about you, but I love a good Elin Hilderbrand book!!! When I hear she had a new book coming out AND it was getting great reviews, I naturally had to have it!!! In addition, I am part of book club, The Bee Hive Book Club, where each member is part of a 12 member team. Each member picks a book for their team and then journals their thoughts in a notebook while reading the book. At the end of the month, the member mails the book and the journal they have to the next member of the group. When 12 months is up, I will get my book back and the journal back with thoughts from 12 different people!!!! Naturally I chose Summer of ’69 for this exchange!!! There is so much packed into this book, and I can wait to see the journal responses from others around the United States! I am so excited!!!

Synopsis

This book, based in 1969, is about the Levin family and what the Summer of 1969 has in store for them. Each summer, the Levin family travels to Nantucket to spend the summer at their grandmother’s, Exalta aka Nonny to the grandchildren, home “All’s Fair.” This summer, however, is nothing like the previous summers that the Levin family has experienced.

Blair, the oldest of the children, is stuck in Boston. Blair is pregnant with twins and her husband, Angus, who is an astrophysicist and is helping NASA with the moon launch, is not home much of the time due to the upcoming mission. Plus, Blair is sure that her husband is having an affair with a woman named Trixie.

Kirby, a student at Simmons College, wants nothing more than her independence. She is all about the civil rights movement and has participated in several protests, some of which have gotten her arrested. This summer however, she wants her freedom and talks her mother and father into letting her take a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard.

Tiger has recently been called up to serve has a soldier had as been deployed to war in Vietnam. Tiger is the light of his mother, Kate’s, eyes and she is devitated when her only son is deployed.

Jessie, the youngest of the family at age 13, is suddenly an “only child” and is forced to go to Nantucket with her mother, Kate, and grandmother, Exalta. She want desperatly to stay home with her father, David, who will come to Nantucket on weekends, but Kate and Nonny will not hear of it.

This story takes a look at each of the siblings lives as well as Kate’s and Nonny’s. Each life is filled with secrets that are spilling over at the brim. Each person wants to keep their secrets to themselves, but at the same time so desperately wants to not be alone in the vast world. Are they willing to spill their secrets to become more cohesive as a family or will they ride out the summer, separate and alone?

This is this first historical novel written by Elin Hilderbrand.

Review

I am generally not one to read historical fiction…it usually is just not my cup of tea. However, as I said I absolutely love Elin Hilderbrand as an author and once again she did not disappoint. This book captivated me from page one. I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about 1969, other than the basics that we are taught in school. However, this book captured me and took me to a place where I could see the events unfolding – it was like I was there, experiencing it with the characters. I felt myself longing with the family that Tiger would come home from the war. I felt myself remembering what is was like to be a 13 year old girl. I reflected on how all we want when we are little is to grow up and be independent in the world. I thought of the secrets that we all have and how we go through an internal struggle as to whether to let those secrets out or to keep them hidden deep down. This book was fantastic in so many ways, from the description of the times and of the characters to the raw emotions that were written about in the book and felt by the reader. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Everyone should have it on their TBR (To Be Read) List!!! I have never been disappointed by an Elin Hilderbrand book, and this one showed me again what an amazing author and storyteller Elin is!!!

Rating

Picture taking bloopers… Doggy Photo bombing the picture!! 🙂