"The Castaways ... They had all washed up on the shores of Nantucket, and they had stayed and made it their home. They had found each other. Everyone agreed it was the right name." - The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
Four Nantucket couples. Their lives unusually intertwined. One tragic accident. Mourning and sadness all around. Guilt and mystery. Friendship. That pretty much sums up The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand. The cover may look all happy and serene but inside the pages you'll find a tangled web of affairs, deceit, marital discontent, depression, death and despair. It's a summer read full of cloudy, tumultuous skies.
Who are the "Castaways?" They are four couples: the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes and Wheelers. Over the years, they become really good friends. You know, almost a love rectangle times two (plus one, a student named April) with the classic "grass is always greener on the other side" scenarios. The rectangle gets completely thrown out of kilter when one couple, Greg and Tess MacAvoy, sails out to the Vineyard for their anniversary, hoping to patch their marriage back together, trying to leave behind the rumors that Greg had an affair with one of his students, April Peck. Instead, their boat capsizes and they drown. Their friends are left in a state of shock after the deaths and they all struggle to deal with unanswered questions and their own grief.
Elin Hilderbrand is known for her riveting Nantucket summer reads, many of them bestsellers. The Castaways releases on July 7th. This is the first book by Hilderbrand that I've read. To be perfectly honest, usually I'm not really drawn toward books mired in affairs and the related complexities involved in such situations. I must say that I had a hard time believing that four couple's lives could become quite so intermixed. However, I found Hilderbrand's depictions of how each character handled stressful events intriguing. Her characterizations seem very real--the group dynamics even more so as each person plays a specific role within the "rectangle." I was also pleasantly surprised by the suspense in the book. I never lost interest while reading it.
Hilderbrand tells her story in an interesting way, through her characters. The chapters alternate between the six bereaved friends, each one recounting details from his or her own point of view, each one reminiscing about past events and expressing present feelings. The mystery surrounding the drowning and the relationships between the characters drive the plot. If you are looking for an emotion filled book packed with plenty of drama, scandal and some soul-searching, you'll want to read this one.
The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand. Little, Brown and Company (July 2009); 368 pages; ISBN 9780316043892
Elin Hilderbrand - Author Website
Original "The Castaways" cocktail recipe
Facebook: What Summer Cocktail Are You? (I'm a Gin and Tonic!)
Hachette Early Birds Blog Tours List of all the participating bloggers in The Castaways July Blog Tour
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