the identicals

0316375195_01__SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. 

Twin sisters, Harper and Tabitha, have been estranged for many years when their father dies and they are suddenly forced into each other lives again.

Tabitha lives on Nantucket with her troubled teenaged daughter Ainsley.  When their parents divorced, Tabitha went to live with their mother Eleanor, “who had the countenance of a queen, a regal being, an unassailable authority.”

Harper lives with her dog, Fish, on Martha’s Vineyard. Harper went to live with her father when her parents divorced.  She has been taking care of her father the whole time he has been sick and simultaneously having an affair and falling in love with her father’s doctor.  When her affair is discovered she escapes the island and the rumors by going to stay at her sisters house to care for her niece.

The sisters end up switching islands and lives.  Tabitha returns to her father’s home in Nantucket to remodel the house and get it ready to sale and ends up gets romantically involved with the carpenter working on the house.

“Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked about summer that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.”

This wasn’t my favorite Elin Hilderbrand book.  It wasn’t terrible, but some of her other books are way better. To me, it just felt a little too mushy and chick-litty. I would still recommend it for a light, summer read and I still believe that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of summer reading.


the forever summer

51obNoQMjdLMarin, Rachel and Blythe pack up their suitcases and head to the charming Beach Rose Inn in Provincetown for an impromptu week at the beach that turns into a whole summer.

Marin has left her fiancé to be with the man she has been having an affair with for some time. Soon after she breaks off the engagement, she is fired from the law firm she works at because of the affair she has been having with the colleague (Julian). Julian reacts by suggesting they not see each other anymore. Marin feels completely unmoored and dislocated and reluctantly agrees to make the trip to Provincetown with Rachel to escape her problems.

Rachel is the half-sister Marin never knew about who shows up and convinces Marin to make the trip with her to visit their newly discovered grandmother.  Rachel never had much family and is ecstatic to meet her new relatives.

Blythe, Marin’s mother, goes along on the trip to be moral support for her daughter and to try to get over the fact that her husband has been having an affair and has just asked her for a divorce. She is also trying to make amends with Marin, who is very hurt and angry that her mother kept this grandmother and other secrets from her all these years.

Amelia, owner of the Beach Rose Inn and newly discovered grandmother welcomes the women to her home with open arms and an open heart. She is battling her own issues with her estranged children and is thrilled by the discovery that she has other family.

As the women stay at the inn, the ocean is an offering of peace and happiness and the sunshine helps cure their woes. Secrets are revealed and drama ensues as all the women struggle to come to terms with their secrets, hardships and each other.

Perfect read for a beach day, trip or vacation!!! For those who enjoy women’s fiction.

My favorite beach reads


The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand:  Greg and Tess went out on their sailboat, but drown mysteriously, leaving behind two small children as well as the three couples who have long been their closest friends. Tragedy brings to the surface long-simmering conflicts and emotions, and the six grieving friends find themselves unprepared for uncovered secrets as they struggle to answer the question: What happened to Greg and Tess?


51ZndGYFeXLBeach Music by Pat Conroy: One of my favorite books. A sweeping, lyrical novel that takes you from the piazzas in Rome to the low country of South Carolina. It covers three generations of a dysfunctional family and the tragedies they endure.  It is a beautiful and heartbreaking novel that immerses the reader in the country that Conroy so deeply loved.




Maine by Courtney Sullivan:
As three generations of Kelleher women arrive at the family’s beach house, each brings her own hopes and fears.  “As the story progresses, it’s intriguing to see the current dysfunction trace its way back through the generations to its roots in Catholic guilt, alcoholism and bad decisions.



The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher: Penelope Keeling is a character that you just cannot help but love. She suffers a mild heart attack and decides to return to the coast of Cornwall where she goes into the tale of three generations of the Keeling family. I wanted to move to England and live with the charming heroine of this novel and drink tea in the garden all day!!!! The perfect family saga.



Summer Sisters by Judy Blume: I was happy to discover that Judy Blume also writes adult books!!  Victoria Leonard and Caitlin Somers were longtime friends who met during a summer vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, an enchanting place where the two friends become “summer sisters.”Their story carries us from Santa Fe to Martha’s Vineyard, from New York to Venice and follows the two women on the paths they each choose.





A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams:  Lily Dane, New York socialite, has just returned with her family to an idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island. Lily is expecting another placid summer season, but this season is different and uneasy secrets slowly reveal themselves.  Spend a little time at shimmering parties and lazy days in the sand getting to know this family and their secrets.




Summer reading is my favorite time of year. Books are just better when read outdoors in the sunshine. There are so many wonderful places to read during the long, lazy days of summer. You can read by the pool, in a hammock, on a road trip, by the seaside, on an airplane, in a lounge chair in your backyard, or wherever your heart so desires.


Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley:  A boy and his dog and their adventures together. Because who doesn’t love dogs?

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell: “An irresistible love story that crisscrosses continents and time zones as it captures an extraordinary marriage, and an unforgettable family, with wit, humor, and deep affection.”

 Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: This book keeps popping up on every summer reading list I see.  “A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty.”

 Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty: Because I loved the authors other books, especially “The Husband’s Secret” and “What Alice Forgot.” “This book explores how one small moment can destroy everything. Best friends Erika and Clementine gather with pals for a casual backyard barbecue, right before a tragedy changes their lives forever, and puts everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other into question.”

 The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown: “Madeline seems like she has it all: a great marriage, home, family. But she feels trapped by her controlling husband and the trappings of perfection. She has always looked up to her grandmother Margie, but discovering a journal from the woman’s youth uncovers a woman she hardly knew, who relished the freedom of a trip to Jazz Age Paris. As her marriage shatters, Madeline decides to re-create her grandmother’s adventure, but soon realizes that even the most flawless façades can hide some unseemly secrets.”

Siracusa by Delia Ephron: “An electrifying novel about marriage and deceit from bestselling author Delia Ephron that follows two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from one another are exposed and relationships are unraveled.”

 Modern Lovers by Emma Straub: “[Modern Lovers] is a treat. . . a fabulous coming-of-age novel about women entering into a new era of their lives.” Refinery29

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell: “The last remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind, and the Brontës’ own novels.”


Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

51nclush51LIt’s not summer without a juicy new book from Elin Hilderbrand. She is the queen of the beach read. She writes chick-lit with substance.
In “Here’s to Us,” Deacon Thorpe, celebrity chef, had a heart attack and died. All three women he has been married to, along with all his children and his best friend meet at the Nantucket home that Deacon adored to mourn him and spread his ashes.
Laurel was wife number one. She and Deacon had Hayes together. Hayes is addicted to heroin. Belinda, famous actress, is wife number two. They adopted Angie together. Angie is having an affair with a married man. Scarlett, wife number three, used to be the nanny when Belinda and Deacon were married, and she was still married to Deacon when he died. Buck, long time best friend of Deacon, who is secretly in love with Laurel, is present to break it to them that Deacon left the Nantucket home to all three wives.
Everyone adored and idolized Deacon, but he was a very sad person and no one was able to save him. With each wife, he tried to fill the hollowness and emptiness inside him but he could never quite rid himself of it.
This family has a lot of unresolved issues and there is a lot of underlying tension. They all struggle with anger, jealousy, bitterness, and grief. The drama unfolds as they spend a few days in Nantucket to say goodbye to their beloved husband, father, and friend. As usual, Nantucket is always a charming setting. You can almost feel the ocean air and hear the waves crashing as you read. This is the perfect summer read!





The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo: Maddie, homeless and pregnant, returns to her mom’s hometown to claim an inheritance from her grandmother and uncovers secrets from the past. A light-hearted read with a little humor and a lot of heart. For those who like chick-lit and women’s fiction.

This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquet: Very European. Bianca travels to a beach town near Barcelona with those she holds dearest to grieve the death of her mother. Bianca is very promiscuous and self-absorbed person, but there were a few profound moments. A very quick read!

Still Life With Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen: The heroine of this book is a 60 year old photographer, Rebecca Winter, who moves from new York to the country because of financial difficulties. In her despair, she says she feels like a tourist in her own life and that loneliness lives inside her like an illness. In an isolated cottage in the woods she finds her way again. A little romance, a dog for a companion, and lots of other lovely characters. Loved this one!!!

The Children by Ann Leary: In a New England home by the lake, a blended family gathers and dark secrets are exposed. Do not read this one if you like happy endings. This is a book that gets better as it goes. For those who like reading about dysfunctional families.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley: I don’t usually read thrillers, but this one was very engrossing. One of the biggest books of summer. A page-turner that is full of mystery, suspense, and tragedy. The only flaw, I thought it harped too much on the intrusive nature of media.

Redemption Road by John Hart: One of my favorite authors! An excellent literary thriller. I was hooked from page one. John Hart knows how to write. You won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough!