Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top Ten Reasons I Love Elin Hilderbrand's Novels

I just finished reading Elin's latest book, Silver Girl, and said to myself, "Wow!" Honestly, when I picked it up, I was pretty convinced that I was chasing a dream by assuming I would continue to enjoy her books. 


Because she writes, exclusively, summer beach-reads set on Nantucket. Now, I adore Nantucket. If I could afford to live there, as she does, I would do it in a heartbeat. I also love beach-reads and anything summer-oriented (one of my favorite seasons in New England, where the winter can be brutal, the spring often too cool, and the fall glorious but fleeting). 

But I thought, how much more can she milk this thing? The answer: she doesn't milk anything. She writes great books that, yes, happen to be set on Nantucket and do happen to be beach-oriented, but they are truly excellent reads. If you looked at my bookshelf, you'd notice that I have pretty much every book she's written. 

Having read the body of her work, I think I'm one of her biggest fans (Oh, no! Visions of Kathy Bates with an ax! No, not that kind of fan!). She keeps me as a fan for many reasons. Silver Girl, one of her best books yet, is one of them. Elin has clearly grown as a writer and
continues to develop, something you notice if you've been reading her work for as long as I have. But there are many more reasons...and here they are: 

Top Ten Reasons I Love Elin Hilderbrand's Brand of Summery-Goodness:
  1. Nantucket! Her books are all set on this gorgeous island and make you yearn to explore its beaches on foot while collecting shells, wander its cobblestone streets in the afternoon while dipping into the many small stores and restaurants downtown, and stay in one of its charming shingled houses and wake to sun streaming through the curtains and the promise of a beautiful breezy summer day.
  2. Summer Lovin'! If there is a "Queen" of summer beach-reads, it's Elin. Why? Because she seamlessly weaves into her narratives all that is fantastic about the summer. When you're reading one of her books you can hear the ocean's roar, smell the charcoal burning on the grill, see the hydrangea nodding their bright blue heavy blossom-heads over a white picket fence, taste the bright tartness of freshly picked berries, and feel the sand between your toes.
  3. Characters That Are Real People: Elin Hilderbrand's characters are so....human. They're good, but not too good. They have doubts and fears that are understandable. You worry along with them and rejoice for them when things go well.
  4. Page-Turning Stories: Elin's stories are so well-told they're hard to put down. They have plenty of excitement and action to go along with the character development. You find yourself having to know what happens next!
  5. Her Voice: Every great writer - in my opinion - has their own unique voice. You'd know their writing if it was given to you anonymously. It's like an old friend: a familiar personality and a certain way of looking at the world. Elin Hilderbrand has her own voice, one like none other.
  6. Personal Growth: Another great thing that all great books have in common is that the characters grow as people in the story. And they grow in ways that are surprising at times. Silver Girl was yet another book of Ms. Hilderbrand's in which the characters grew a great deal while remaining believable and retaining their original personalities.
  7. Got To Have Friends: One of the things I love most about her books is the friendships in them. They are so genuine: satisfying and then frustrating and then heartbreaking and then back. The characters start to feel like friends of yours by the end of every book.
  8. A Little Romance: I'm not a huge fan of romance novels, yet Elin's are technically romance-driven. The reason I think that it doesn't bother me is that the love story doesn't seem tacked on or forced, that the love interests always make sense to me. You never have this big jerk who the girl inexplicably desires. When the lovers come together in her stories, you find yourself saying, "But, of course!"
  9. Not Too Much Sex: I'm no Puritan, but I really don't enjoy graphic sex scenes. A little sex goes a long way with me. The sex scenes in Elin Hilderbrand's books are like the baby bear in the Three Bears story: just right (and mostly out of sight).
  10. Keep Surprising Me: My final point I've already made at the start of this post. To me, the only reason to keep reading an author is to see where they're going next. If it's the same old thing every time, I get bored. With Elin, life really is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get!
Do you enjoy Elin Hilderbrand's books? Do you have a favorite?


  1. I pick up a book of hers but I haven't read it yet. The question I have is, should I read her books in order? I have heard conflicting thoughts.

    1. No reason to read them in any order, Missy - in fact, I think her more recent books are her best!