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Summer People

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  11,310 ratings  ·  459 reviews
Every summer the Newton family retreats to their beloved home on Nantucket for three months of sunshine, cookouts, and bonfires on the beach. But this summer will not be like any other. When Arch Newton, a prominent New York attorney, dies in a plane crash on his way home from a business trip, his beautiful widow Beth can barely keep things together. Above all, though, she ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 15th 2004 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published May 30th 2003)
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Marleen
Oh dilemma, because I'm hesitating between a 3 and a 4 stars for this one. I know I’m in for a nice treat when I read a book by Elin Hilderbrand, that's for sure. I may not always like all the characters she puts on paper (as in this one), but I always thoroughly enjoy her writing style and the stories she brings, set on beautiful Nantucket. This one, centering on the Newton family, might well be the most touching I’ve read so far by this author. The parts that revealed what happened in the past ...more
Lori
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucy
I needed a summer fluff book. This book and its $4 price tag at Costco accommodated me.

It was fluffy. Once I understood the title, that there are wealthy people who spend entire summers doing nothing in their second homes on beautiful and quaint islands, I forgave the shallowness of most of the characters. It is supposed to be about seemingly shallow people albeit shallow people who are grieving for their dead spouse and father. That doesn't forgive the lack of depth Hilderbrand wrote all the o
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Kristin
More than anything else, this book is about loss, and the different ways people grieve. You might think that would make a book depressing, but I actually found it to be optimistic and even humorous at times.
It's summer, and the wealthy, upper-East-Side Newton family is headed to their beach house on Nantucket, as they do every year. This year, however, they do it without their father, Arch, who was killed three months earlier in a plane crash. His children, twins Winnie and Garrett, have been un
...more
Holly
Another new author who I have fallen in love with! I love books set in places in New England and along the water front of the East coast so Nantucket during the summer was perfect in my book for a summertime read. A little slow for me at the start, but once I got into it (and past some of the darker parts), I was hooked.
Carol Brill
3.5. You can always count on Elin Hilderbrand for a good beachread. Beth's husband, Arch, was killed in a plane crash just 3 months before she and her teenage twins go to Nantucket for the summer, maintaining a family tradition. Before he died, Arch invited Marcus, the teenage son of a murderer he is representing, to join the family in Nantucket. Out of a respect for Arch, Beth honors Arch's invitation. The first person Beth's sees in Nantucket is her first love, who is recently separated. His t ...more
Jules
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daveia
If I were Elin's editor, I would have told her "this so called plot twist? is a BUST"

Wow. The big secret is that the mom was married, twenty-five years ago, for two weeks. Years before she met her long-term spouse, years before she had children, she was married for two weeks. No entanglements, no long-term consequences, just a young girl who made a silly mistake and managed to rectify it before it got ugly. My mom was engaged before she met my father. That didn't work out. Thirty years later I'
...more
Jennefer
I will start by saying I am a big fan of Elin Hilderbrand. This is the sixth novel I have read from this author and I think it is one of my top favorites. I have read “Barefoot”, “The Island”, “The Castaways”, “The Love Season”, and “Silver Girl”. I can honestly say that I could not put this book down. There is an ease to her writing style that pulls you in to her story and makes all the characters very relatable.
As proven in her previous books, Hilderbrand is a master at dealing with the famil
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Lynn
Reading about the sun, the ocean and the joys of summer at the beach is exactly what I needed as winter started. What I didn't need was the sappy, lack of depth story that I found in this book.

The story is about a family that has recently lost their father, Arch Newton, who was on his way home from a work trip. They seek solice in their summer tradition-going to Nantucket Island. Despite needing time for them to heal as a family, mom Beth and her twins, Winnie and Garrett, aren't making the trip
...more
Ruth
I picked this up because I enjoy Hilderbrand's books and this was one that I haven't read already. Her books all take place on Nantucket and this was no exception.

The Newton family is devastated by the death of their husband/father. He has died in a plane crash while he was traveling to meet with a fellow attorney concerning a case that he is working on. He is representing a black woman who attended Princeton when he was there. For some reason, he feels that he needs to do this although crimina
...more
Chiara Kelly
As in other books by Elin Hildebrand, what drew me into this book is her picturesque description of Nantucket Island, as well as an authentic inside view on how people live their lives there. Summer People touches upon the disparity between year-round Islanders and wealthy "Summer People" who reclaim their summer homes for a season of high-life social reveling. The story unfolds as the main characters David and Elizabeth, who once eloped in secret, meet after decades of going their separate ways ...more
Sarah
On the one hand, I really enjoyed Elin Hilderbrand's "Summer People". On the other hand, I was more than a little disturbed by her portrayal of "white versus black." Marcus didn't have nearly as many automatic stereotypes about white people as Beth, Garrett, and Winnie had about black people, but here's a line that stuck with me (toward the end of the book): "Colgate was a white person's school." Um, Hilderbrand, I'm pretty sure Colgate is a university, not a white person's school. It may have a ...more
Bobbi Woods
This represents my annual Elin Hilderbrand summer "beach read"--although this time I was a little more impressed with the depth of both the story and the characters.

Park Avenue's Beth Newton brings her twin 17-year-olds to Nantucket for the summer--but this summer is like no other. Beth's husband, Arch, died in a plane crash two months earlier and honoring a promise Arch made before he died, Beth brings along Marcus Taylor. Marcus is the 17-year-old son of a woman from Queens who had been Arch's
...more
Liz
A great, quick summer read. Typical of Elin Hilderbrand, the story is based in Nantucket on the beach which always makes me want a summer cottage. The usual characters that arrive to the beach, with some sort of a conflict to resolve, and emotional breakthrough and a little romance. Even though it was predictable, still a book I could not put down! Good change of pace of reading.
Shari
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Nothing earth shattering but a nice light read. I would definitely recommend it. I will be looking for more books from this author.

The story is about a family struggling with life altering changes and their summer on Nantucket. The author describes the island in such a way that it makes you want to experience it for yourself.
Beth
This was another light vacation read by Elin Hilderbrand. There were a lot of different stories going on along with the main story, however they all told stories of people, their family, their "vacation home", all which had progressed over the years visiting the island. It was very easy to connect with the characters.
Candice
Easy weekend beach read. Although the subject matter would lend itself to a story with depth, overall it does not dive much below the surface. This was my first Elin Hilderbrand book, and I'll probably give her one more chance, but it's not looking like she'll be listed among my favourite authors. Too fluffy.
Erin
The first half of this book was a light, summer read with some less than light subject matter (getting over the death of a spouse/parent). The second half made little to no sense. The mother's secret, and kids subsequent reaction, was ridiculous, and the final climax was just silly. Bleh.
Megan
The secret that the book aluded to was such a non issue that I wondered why the author thought she could revolve a book around the whole thing.

It was an easy beach read, where is actually where I read it. I read another one of her books and liked it but this one was slow and anticlimactic.
Mary Seely
I was amazed at how calm the mother was about her teenagers being sexually active. Especially since they were so open about it. The book had a nice tidy ending. Not much like real life in my opinion. There were so many obstacles to overcome.
K
I felt like I was reading the screenplay for a Lifetime for TV movie! So much drama packed in 330 pages; but then the drama was very thinly fleshed out. Beth's "big secret" was such a nothing and then the big deal was glossed over...I guess the biggest criticism is that the issues that seemed most important were sort of shrugged off casually and others that were seemingly inconsequential were made out to be huge life changing facts. (Sounds vague, but no spoilers!)
The characters were not engagin
...more
Monica
Summer People has everything that makes up a great summer read. It’s the story of the Newton family who by the looks of it have it all. They are the ideal family, a dad who is a lawyer out there trying to change the world, a mom who stays home and cares for the family and two kids who are nearly perfect. One night while coming back from a meeting Arch dies in a plane crash and it leaves his family in utter shock. Beth tries to pull herself and her kids together knowing that while they must mourn ...more
Kristen
This would be a good beach read. It has some heavy subject matter, but the way the story is told, it makes it pretty light. The big revelation that the main character tries to hide is not that shocking.
Holli
Elin Hilderbrand's books all seem so very real to me. Her characters are all very relatable and their personalities leap off the pages.... they stay with me long after i finish the book.

Dawn
Through most of this book, my main thought was 'So what?'. It was a quick read, and there was nothing, really, to dislike about it, but I just never felt a connection to any of the characters, and didn't really care much about what was happening to them. There wasn't much character development, and I found I just couldn't relate to anyone. After a while, I started to get annoyed with most of them (except, perhaps, Marcus), and the twins' reaction to their mother's big secret seemed way out of pr ...more
Josie
More juvenile than the others, a book I would have been even more obsessed with as a teenager.
Allison Castle


All her books are great. Nice easy reads that transport you to Nantucket
Paula
Boring and depressing! Don't bother/
Tammi
One of my favorites of hers
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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.

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“Summer does something to the brain, " Beth said. "It's intoxicating. Everything shimmers ” 1 likes
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