Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Castaways: definitely NOT a reject!

Castaway: cast adrift or ashore; shipwrecked; a rejected or discarded person or thing.
The Castaways are four couples who are best friends living on the island of Nantucket off Cape Cod, MA. None were raised on the island, but all have found their way to it through various life events, and now with children, careers, and established relationships, it is part of their blood. Elin Hilderbrand has once again given us a story celebrating her home and the life of the year-round inhabitants woven into complex human relationships. I first read Ms. Hilderbrand 9 years ago with the publication of her first book, The Beach Club. With each successive novel I have seen her writing grow, and her storytelling enthrall me even more. Every summer I look forward to another layered, emotional story that makes me almost want to brave the horrors of the Cape in summer to visit the island. Maybe I'll go after Labor Day this year...
The central characters of The Castaways, teachers Greg and Tess MacAvoy, appear in the novel through the thoughts of their six good friends. The story opens with the death of Greg and Tess in a boating accident, leaving 7 year old twins, a daughter and son. This sail was to be a symbolic reconciliation and renewal of Tess and Greg's 12-year marriage, which had undergone a year of strained crisis. As friends and family scramble to make arrangements for the children, the burial, and the execution of the wills, questions swirl throughout the group. Why were both Tess and Greg found under the b oat? Why hadn't they yet made it to their destination when the squall arose? The Chief of Police, their good friend Ed has a question that the others don't even know about. Why were opiates found in Tess's bloodstream in the toxicology report? More questions arise as the Chief investigates the accident. Why did Tess receive 5 phone calls from Addison, her friend's husband, on the morning of the accident? Why did Tess's cell phone disappear right after the Chief noted the calls? Was Greg truly at the beach the night before with one of his female students? The reader learns of all these things through the eyes of Andrea & the Chief, Addison & Phoebe, and Jeremy & Delilah, piecing together a complex quilt of foolish choices, friendships, tragedy, lost loves, and family.
I'm sure you can tell that I really enjoyed The Castaways, and I'd love to tell you to run out and get it...but, it's still only in hardcover, so if you've never read Elin Hilderbrand before, try one of her earlier novels in paperback. If you are familiar with Ms. Hilderbrand, go get this one right away! Her novels are great beach books, not sudsy or foolish, and really make me think about relationships and the impact of small decisions. My favorite after The Castaways is The Blue Bistro, the story of a famous chef on Nantucket, and her restaurant.
On Elin Hilderbrand's web site there is a giveaway for a tote bag full of several of her novels, so check it out if you are interested.
There are also giveaways for The Castaways at:
This Book for Free
Booking Mama
Frugal Plus (5 copies!)

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5 comments:

Anna said...

I think everyone on the tour really liked this one. That's saying a lot! I met Hilderbrand at BEA and she signed a copy of this book. I can't wait to read it.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

countrymans said...

Yeah, that sounds like a great summer read.. Thanks Elizabeth. :)

Blueday said...

That one sounds really good to me. I love to read. I hope you are having a great summer.

Justine said...

Wow, this book sounds awesome! No romance, but I guess a girl can't have everything, right?

I'm going to check her out at the library next time I'm there!

Justine ;o )

Sheila DeChantal said...

Yup = everyone is saying good things about this book. I missed out on the tour being a newbie and all but I am going to read this! :)

Thanks for the review and letting my stop in this morning!