It's Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom's wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.
But it's going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom's famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways, Beautiful Day, and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read.
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.
I hate to play favorites, but in this case, I don't feel like I have a choice. In my humble opinion, this is Elin Hilderbrand's best work yet. Combining her signature backdrop, riveting cast of characters and penchant for teasing the craveable local fare with the suspense of a murder mystery—you better believe, I soaked up every moment in the Nantucket sun.
This year, Elin Hilderbrand lures readers back to the picturesque Nantucket island with the invitation to a prominent wedding. Until the morning of, Benji and Celeste’s nuptials are poised to be the event of the summer. Loving couple, coveted wedding planner and a mother-in-law ensuring every minute detail is just so—what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, something far worse than anyone could fathom—let alone the bride.
Celeste wakes on the morning of her special day to find her only friend and maid of honor, Merritt, floating along the shore of her in-law’s stunning Summerland compound. The question becomes, was it an untimely accident or something far more sinister?
Through the investigative work of Chief Ed Kapenash (you may remember him from The Castaways), an unraveling of the many alibis and a host of memories from multiple perspectives, Elin takes us back to the beginning—to how Benji and Celeste came to be the perfect couple set to say “I do”. In doing so, Hilderbrand incites a frenzy, holding the reader captive as one tightly-held secret after another is revealed. Reminiscent of the game of Clue, everyone takes their turn at playing the suspect.
There’s something to be said about Hilderbrand’s ability to pen such distinct and compelling characters. You may not love them all for who they are or condone the situations they get themselves into, but there’s no denying, you want to stick around to hear what they have to say.
For me, it was the bride Celeste that stole the show. A breath of fresh air—by Nantucket and leading lady standards—unassuming and uninterested in trying to impress people, she’s distinctly Celeste. A zoologist driven by her love of nature, she’s a true friend, loving daughter and a woman caught up in the whirlwind of her first ever relationship. Her journey just might make you ponder, does each bad deed committed, in turn, set something else in motion?
There is a HUGE piece of the plot that I want to gush about to NO END. But I won’t for the sake of ruining it for someone else. What I will say, because I have to say something, there’s an enviable level of wanting and intense longing that completely stole my heart. I found myself turning the pages with bated breath in anticipation of what was to come for these two. My one hope—somehow, some way—we’ll cross paths with this couple again. Maybe in a future book?
“Yes, but none of those flowers are from me. I want you to look at this bouqet and know just how besotted I am with you.”
*Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing my copy.
A beach read with a murder mystery that is as interesting as any whodunnit I've ever read? Yes to all of it, please!
On the morning of Celeste Otis's extravagant Nantucket wedding to wealthy heir Benji Winbury, she wakes to find her maid of honor floating dead in the water. As the investigation heats up and the police look carefully over every member of the wedding party, shocking secrets are slowly revealed. It seems everyone has something to hide.
I've noticed lately that there have been an abundance of books labeled beach reads without actually taking place on a beach or in a beach town. Maybe I'm being old fashioned, but that's not what a beach read is. Thankfully, there is no such false advertising here. The setting for this book should quench any desire for an escape to a sun-drenched paradise where everyone is rich but the secrets are just as sinful.
The narrative alternates between the present-day investigation and the events leading up to it. I thought the style worked particularly well for this story. Even though there is a back and forth in the timeline and among various characters, I never felt my attention waver. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and found the whole thing utterly unputdownable.
The murder mystery has all the hallmarks of a whodunnit: a small cast of characters, red herrings galore, and delicious twists and turns everywhere. As a seasoned mystery reader, I was particularly impressed that the ending managed to surprise me.
It's pretty rare for me to find the perfect beach read that also happens to be a clever whodunnit. While Elin Hilderbrand is a queen of the former, I don't believe she writes very many mysteries. I hope that changes soon.
Slated as this years must have summer beach read I went into this novel not expecting to be intellectually stimulated. Obviously this was going to be light and easy read, but there's nothing wrong with switching off your brain and delving into something easy, breezy (mentally trying to stop myself from saying cover girl but I can't) if at least it's fun. This novel was fun for the first 30% then it got boring, and then it got long and when I finally hit the last chapter it took that turn to just plain irritating.
The Perfect Couple is centred around Benji and Celeste's fairytale wedding on Nantucket... spoiler alert the wedding isn't as fairytale as you're led to believe. I know, shocker! When the Maid of Honour Merritt is found floating around the ocean dead, on the day of the supposed dream wedding, everything is flipped on its head as readers are taken into the secret lives of the many guests.
The concept although sounding like a fun murder mystery on the island took on a stereotypical chick-lit format about half way through making me feel as if this book had tricked me. What was slated as a murder mystery/whodunnit soon became a wish washy jumble of chapters about different romances of the many attendees of the wedding. The ending especially had me freakin pissed.
I also found myself being increasingly frustrated with how women were being portrayed in this novel. For a female author she really enjoyed painting women as sluts, bitches or virginal. Women were either prizes of male affection or shameful flirts that lured men into cheating the one dimensional brush this female author chose to paint the women in her novel was disheartening to say the least.
And don't get me started on the central romance! That love at first sight stick, I will betray everyone I love for this random woman/man I've spent a day with is such nonsense that I can't even wrap my mind around it in my novels. I have an easier time believing in the possibility that there is a Hogwarts somewhere out there then freakin love at first sight. It was a patronizing and unrealistic love where the male in question would say belittling things like you're just so real compared to the women I know. What the fuck does that mean? If a guy told me I'm not like other girls or I'm real compared to other women. I'd tell him I don't need him to put down my entire gender to give me a patronizing compliment. This novel basically can be summed up by the fact men are the worst and women are prizes to be won and then disposed of when the man is done with them. There you go! I summed the novel up for you, now you don't have to read it. Your Welcome.
Ahhhhh Nantucket in the summer is bliss! It is a lovely place to vacation. It also serves as the perfect place for a wedding, the beach and a murder!
The Otis-Winbury is going to be one to remember! The groom's family has arranged for the wedding to be the event of the season. A wedding that people will be talking about for years to come! And it will be remembered but not for the reasons they want it to be. In the early morning hours on the day of the wedding, the maid of honor is found dead. Chief of Police Ed Kapenash is leading the investigation and everyone in the wedding party is a suspect.
The story unfolds through various character's perspectives and timelines. It becomes clear that almost everyone in this book has a secret - BIG scandalous secrets. But just because one has a secret doesn't make them guilty of murder, or does it?
This may be the quintessential beach read of summer 2018. There are secrets, family secrets, lies, deceptions, suspense and mystery. This was a very fast read that had me guessing along with Chief Kapenash as to the identity of the “murderer" . This book is pure enjoyment. As the investigation unfolds and the stories and backstories are told, the reader may suspect several characters of murder in this whodunnit. This book doesn't involve a lot of thinking, again, it's pure entertainment which makes it perfect for a summer/beach/poolside read. Another plus is that there is nothing graphic in this book, which means most readers will be able to read and enjoy this book!
Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are my own.
4 stars for this tantalizing, indulgent mystery that was so much more addictive than watching a reality show or soap opera!
The Perfect Couple is set in Nantucket, amidst the no expense spared paradise of sand, sun, beautiful wealthy people, privilege, secrets, lies and of course murder. To say I could not resist this book would be an understatement. I literally had to force myself to put it down and I eagerly picked it up any chance I got.
Benji and Celeste are set to be married until the bride finds her best friend and maid-of-honor, Merritt's body floating in the water. What follows is the unraveling of so much juicy deceit and so many secrets that you will not be able to turn the pages fast enough. With so many characters and so many secrets you can't help but suspect everyone! Hilderbrand did an amazing job unfolding this whodunnit. I will admit that I had suspicions about what happened but I did not have all the logistics worked out. I was very satisfied with the ending and pleased that I did not have it all figured out.
This is by far my favorite Hilderbrand to date and one that will be difficult for her to beat in my mind!
My first Elin Hilderbrand book! I LOVED the mystery. I also loved how we got to learn about so many characters and all of their secrets. A very juicy book that always kept me guessing. I will say that the ending wasn't as crazy of a twist as I thought it would be but I never guessed the ending so I still found it satisfying. I'm excited to read more books by this author!
I couldn’t get enough of The Perfect Couple, a quintessential summer read, which I absorbed in the perfect setting at a lakehouse this extended holiday weekend.
Benji and Celeste are scheduled to get married at Benji’s family estate in Nantucket on Saturday but tragedy strikes the morning of the wedding when the maid of honor is found dead on the property. Nantucket Police Chief, Ed, and a handsome detective, Nick, are called to the scene to find out what happened and assess if there was foul play or if her death was an accident.
Even with glitz, glam, and wealth in Nantucket, everyone has secrets, which are revealed to Nick and Ed as they interview various members of the wedding party, families, and other guests. Along with the current investigation, the story flashes back in time, showing how Celeste and Benji met as well as the role of other characters including Benji’s parents, Tag and Greer, the best man, Shooter, the maid of honor, Merritt, and Celeste’s parents, Karen and Bruce. Some characters were likable while others definitely weren’t, and many weren’t who they initially seemed to be.
I was hooked on The Perfect Couple from the get-go! Given death is involved, there are some sad elements in the book, including another storyline I wasn’t expecting, but these did not detract from my thorough enjoyment in reading it. The mystery of Merritt’s death had me guessing until the end, and I was satisfied with the story’s conclusion. I’ve been a Hilderbrand fan for a few years now - She writes about people so well. I have to say, The Perfect Couple is my favorite of her books. Highly recommend for a captivating summer read!
4 perfect beach read stars to The Perfect Couple! 🏝 🏝 🏝 🏝
I discovered Elin Hilderbrand a couple years ago, well after she was proclaimed the queen of beach reads. While her books may be “beachy” (i.e., set on Nantucket), they are well-written and full of depth. The Perfect Couple is Hilderbrand’s first foray into murder mystery writing and also incorporates some beloved characters from her past books.
Wedding season is synonymous for “summer people” on Nantucket, and that is when the island is uncomfortably crammed full of people. When police chief Kapenash gets a call early one morning due to a body discovery in the water, the police quickly find out it is the maid of honor in a wedding that is to be held that day. It is safe to say, there would be no wedding.
The book encompasses the investigation as to whom is responsible for the murder, and I was surprised by the ending. Because it’s a lighter mystery, I did not have to focus on analysis and detailed reading, and instead, I could relax and be completely entertained in this indulgent read from the first page to the last.
I continue to be impressed with Hilderband’s ability to stay on top of her game. The Perfect Couple is a smart, inventive, dazzling, and successful work of light mystery dressed in beach read finery.
Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and Netgalley for the copy. The Perfect Couple is now available!
Whew! This was one twisty, turvy murder mystery/beach read where I swear I did not have the slightest idea whodunit until we got to the last page. Bravo, Elin Hildebrand! The theme here is relationships and secrets, and boy do these relationships have a ton! It was like every soap opera you’ve ever watched on steroids, while on the beach, wrapped up in a not the least bit gory murder mystery (for those like me who are easily grossed out) that is well-paced and keeps the twists and turns coming. Quick read. Very much enjoyed this one.
Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
There were so many things that I enjoyed listening to this one (Audible). The setting was just dreamy-beach side in Nantucket with the sunny atmosphere. The characters were fun and relatable with some side notes of a little bit soap-opera inspired (which works in this story).
I loved that one of the main characters is an acclaimed mystery writer. She finds herself smack in the middle of a real life murder mystery. I kept wondering if her "skills" could possibly help her solve this murder or perhaps she was involved. Questions, questions......
It took me awhile to finish the book due to saving it for my car trips. It entertained me and I was enjoying different narrators.
I was a little disappointed in the end. Although it was satisfying, I was left a bit underwhelmed. Like oh.....that is what happened!
There were so many things I disliked about this book. I've never read anything else by this author but she doesn't seem to be a mystery writer. The police procedure seemed extremely shaky. The cops spend one entire day "investigating" before giving up. This was women's fiction. Is the author being paid for product placements? There were an awful lot of brand names mentioned. I hated all of the characters, including the victim. The book hops back and forth in time and among points of view. I skimmed to the end but it wasn't worth the effort. One of the characters discovers what happened. The end. I'm pretty sure that I won't be trying this author again.
I didn’t like this book I adored it. Whilst reading this amazing story was all I could think about, every time I HAD to put this book down, I likened it to having to put a film on hold and all the characters were paused, eager for my return so they could continue their story!!
The fairytale wedding between very wealthy Benji and Celeste should be the wedding of the year, no expense spared and all organised by the grooms Mother Greer.
On the morning of the wedding Maid of Honour Merritt is discovered dead, that is when you realise all is not well in paradise and that there are many secrets to be revealed, before we find out what really happened to Merritt.
What was there not to like in this book? It has everything I love in a novel, glamour, secrets, affairs and murder all nicely told in 2 timelines. The time leading up to Benji and Celeste meeting and falling in love and the lead up to their wedding. the characters are so wealthy and have amazing names like Merritt and Greer!! I looked up Nantucket and I’m desperate to go there now and have a tiny taste of paradise.
I have to say even right at the end of the book, I hadn’t completely worked out what had happened to Merritt as everybody seemed to be hiding secrets and acting guiltily.
I would love to read another book set in Nantucket with the same great characters appearing in it, especially Chief Ed Kapenash and Nick Diamantopoulos and what happens to all the other memorable characters!!
This to my surprise is Elin Hildrebran’s twenty first novel and my first ever book I’ve read of hers, so I have some major catching up to do. I recommend you to read this book which should come with a warning that its highly addictive and you won’t be able to put it down!!
After all that talk about Lobster I feel a craving coming on for some, and as the saying goes “If you can’t beat them join them”
Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
I "thought " I was going to read just a few chapters of this 2018 publication before bed, but nobody puts Elin Hilderbrand on the nightstand and just walks away. Her first foray into mystery writing, Hilderbrand takes us to a Nantucket summer wedding weekend with a dead maid of honor. There's no shortage of suspects and although I had narrowed the field to two possible suspects (one who ultimately is the guilty one) pretty early on, I cannot deny that I gobbled up those pages like turkey stuffing.
A wedding is happening on Nantucket, but on the morning of, the maid of honor is found dead. Told from alternating perspectives and timelines, the story is told throughout the investigation as well as the backstory behind the couple getting married and their families. As the story unfolds, you will make assumptions about "whodunnit" but I bet you won't guess who - I didn't!
The perfect summer read AND a murder mystery in one?!? You need this book!!
Thank you to Little Brown for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
I've read very little from Elin Hilderbrand, but the ratings have been so high with this 2018 release that I just couldn't resist. I have to agree with the masses. The Perfect Couple was a great read. It is an exploration of families and relationships with a death investigation as the backdrop. Key word: backdrop. In my opinion, if you view this story as only a murder mystery, you may leave severely disappointed. But if you open yourself up to meet a variety of characters with wide ranges of histories, dysfunction and values, then you might end up really enjoying the reading experience. Filled with drama, romance, mystery, secrets, complicated emotions and... did I say drama? Yep. Weddings will do that to you. But Hilderbrand also adds tenderness, love and support and I could not get enough. Fast-paced and entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed The Perfect Couple. I left the experience incredibly satisfied and very eager to check out more of Hilderbrand's books.
My favorite quote: "...nothing on this earth – and I mean nothing – prepares you for how much you love your kids. Am I right?"
Perfectly entertaining, perfectly paced, and featured strong characterizations that were perfectly over-the-top.
What could possibly go wrong at a perfectly posh Nantucket wedding?
The answer is EVERYTHING!
The book begins with the discovery of a dead maid-of-honor floating in the ocean.
Was the maid-of-honor's death an accident -- or was she murdered?
When small-town Nantucket police investigate, the suspect list is lengthy: * The bride? * The groom? * The best man? * The bride's mother or father? * The groom's mother or father? * The best man's former lover? * The guests? * The help?
I usually don't enjoy books with more than four protagonists(or suspects!) but Elin Hilderbrand brilliantly crafted the storyline with unusual style and flair, keeping me completely engaged (and guessing!)from the first to the final page.
Never once was there a scorecard needed to keep track of the suspects.
I listened to the audiobook and Erin Bennett did an outstanding job with the narration.
This book was released in 2018 but somehow escaped my radar.
I did not know that Elin Hilderbrand penned murder mysteries and I sincerely hope that she continues to write more books in this genre.
Ah to be rich, gorgeous, and have the perfect summer retreat! Can anything be better, the beach, the sand, the sun, the boats, the mansion, the murder...what wait....Welcome to the summer world in Erin Hilderbrand's The Perfect Couple.
Everything is perfect on the island of Nantucket. It is the wedding weekend for Benji and Celeste, soon to be the perfect couple are to be wed. The wedding thrown so lavishly and brilliantly by Benji's parents Tag and Greer Winbury, truly the perfect couple, will be a gala affair. All is ready, all is perfect and then the maid of honor is found dead floating in the water by the bride to be and perfection turns to mayhem as there is the possibility that she has been murdered. So much for perfection!
There are secrets circling and all that perfection does take on a huge hue of tarnishing. As the secrets unfold we find a family in an emotional chaos and the fun begins as the chief of police tries to find out what really happened to our maid of honor
This was a quick easy read, one that was fraught with clues to the demise of said maid of honor. All the main participants had emotional whatnots going on and we find that perfection is not something any of them really carry around. I enjoyed the play of characters and the way in which this author unfurled their many indiscretions and foibles. The was my first book by Ms Hilderbrand's and I have to say I will be back for more "romantic" fun
Thanks and a big shout out to my local library who every week provides our community with the new and fabulous in its patrons' reading pleasure.
Compelling, mysterious, and deliciously entertaining!
The Perfect Couple takes us to the beautiful island of Nantucket and into the lives of the rich and famous Winburys as they gather to celebrate a family wedding. But like most families with privilege, power, and money everything is not always as it seems and it quickly becomes apparent that behind the beautiful mansion and designer clothes is an abundance of secrets, deception, betrayal, infidelity, substance abuse, lies, scandals, and murder.
The writing is effortless and fluid. The characterization is spot on with a cast of characters that are flawed, authentic, and fun. And the alluring plot is an intelligent, lighthearted mix of a breezy summer read, unpredictable whodunit, and domestic drama all rolled up in one.
Overall, The Perfect Couple is an enjoyable, scintillating treat by Hilderbrand that once again highlights her incredible ability to delve into all the complex dynamics between family members and friends and is without a doubt a must read for 2018!
Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Perfect Couple begins with a celebration proceeding a wedding the next day. The maid of honor is discovered the next day, dead.
The police is called to investigate whether there was foul play. What they learn is that the privileged in their sleepy town of Nantucket, have secrets. There are many potential suspects and motives and I have to admit, by 98% into the story, I still hadn't figured it out. But by the time I got to the end, I still wanted more.
It doesn't matter if I was a little irritated by the present tense narration. It doesn't matter if I didn't like any of the characters. It doesn't matter if the story dragged in the first half. I dutifully read it all because I sooo wanted to know how the book ends.
I had to read 347 pages of rich people bullshit to get to that ending?
Fantastic story! It captivated me from page 1 followed by SO SO many secrets and SO SO many twists. I didn't know which character to suspect. Her characters were complicated and imperfect (despite their wealth). They were also brought to life and made you care about them (well some of them). Loved this new genre Elin wrote and I'm ready for more! What’s not to love: beautiful Nantucket, wealth, scandal, love, lies, and a dead body. 4.5★s!
This was my first Elin Hilderbrand... it was good, but I was not amazed. I don't know if it's because I usually read mystery/suspense books, and this was her first attempt at that type of book? It was a good story, but nothing but Merritt's death was resolved in the end. What happened to all the characters? Basically everyone's life was in shambles, and we have no answers or conclusions.
The author's rambling on and on about this clothing designer, this antique, this fancy food in such detail got kind of annoying. They're rich, we get it. Cutting out all that unnecessary stuff would have hacked a good chunk of pages out this almost 500 page book. Also, calling the one cop "The Greek" really rubbed me the wrong way. Like, what?? This is 2019, right?
I think I would have been better off starting with one of her usual beachy reads instead of The Perfect Couple. I'm sure I'll pick another one of her books up in the future, but I don't feel a burning need to do it right away.
Okay, where to begin.. I LOVED THIS BOOK. This is one where I had to put it down to stop myself from reading it in one sitting because I wanted it to last. This is also one that I accidentally left out in a storm and ruined it, so I immediately ordered a new one on Amazon because I had to finish it and I had to have copy myself because I know I'm going to be lending this one to friends.
The Perfect Couple follows a bunch of people attending a high-end Nantucket weddings. Everything seems perfect until the maid of honor ends up dead. Is it suicide or murder? The detectives have to get everyones story and as you can imagine, nothing is as it seems.
I've read a lot of murder mystery/suspense books lately but I haven't fallen into one quite like I did with The Perfect Couple. The characters are all so weirdly likable in their own ways. They are brilliantly written and the author does a wonderful job of going back and forth both in time and characters. It is a bit longer which is great because you really get the feel for who everyone is and the interpersonal relations.
I didn't know who to root for in this one. Even the worst characters had their redeeming moments and the lovable ones some questionable moments. I can't recommend this book enough.
My only concern and why I'm going back and forth between giving this 4 1/2 stars or 5 (I'm settling on 4 1/2 but rounding up for Goodreads) is the ending. It was so not what I was expecting. At first I was definitely disappointed but the more I think about it I can see that it works. I wish there was more closure for these characters that I loved but really this was one of my favorite reads all summer.
Are all of Elin Hilderbrand's books this good? Because if they are I think I just found one of my new favorite authors!
It was just a pleasant gathering of family and friends, and, well, you know the drill, a few shady characters who had to be invited. The wedding promised to be the epitome of class since Greer Garrison Winbury, an established snob with her British bloodline on full display, was at the helm to make this Nuntucket event worthy of the island's affluent residents. She thrived on tradition, protocol and decorum. Name is everything. And isn't Nantucket Island tasteful, charming, nautical, classic? Her husband Tag, gave her everything she ever wanted, except one thing; his devotion. It was actually him calling her a snob, a terrific snob, actually, but nonetheless deemed her worthy to be his wife for life, and celebrated her as the mother of their two children, Benji and Thomas. The wedding was meticulously planned for Benji and his quiet, stuttering bride, Celeste. Merrit Monaco was Celeste's best friend.
Where is a better place to fish out scandals and secrets, than at a wedding? To be there and share in the joy, is a thrill. To be invited, make sure you promise a lucrative gift. Or give in to a bribe. Money talks. I'm just being coy here, don't mind me. Londonder Featherleigh Dale was one of those old family friends who invited herself and nobody could stop her...
However, The Fourth of July, promised to go seriously sideways this year, when the bridesmaid, Merrit Monaco, was found dead on the eve of the wedding. Chief Ed Kapenash of the Nantucket Police Department was called out on Saturday, July 7, 2018, 5.53 am.
And there goes the carefully manicured facades and facial perfections. Some were hysterical, others dark and brooding, as can be expected, right? Pacifiers were there in abundance: Mount Gay Black Barel rum was one, and the beers, and the champagne, and the cigars, and...and...simply water...
But in the end....well...accidents sometimes acquire totally new meanings. This was one of those moments.
I loved the ending, although many other readers were angry. They wanted the book to be something totally different, addressing their own prejudices. They were angry with the author for taking control of the plot back! She was controlling it anyway and left the reader with an unexpected possibility. Yep, my kind of ending.
If I have a gripe with this book, it is the middle section where chick-lit reigned. Really, so uncalled for, unless it was the target audience in the first place. Well, let it be known in the blurb. But it is described as a beach read, and in that sense it is a perfect, fast-flowing,super one. Light, but intriguing, glitzy but grounded, a whodunnit with Veuve Cliquot bubbles lightening up the other side of tragedy.
The two books, this one and Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg, had a wedding as center stage, with the same mystery and magic of family and friends becoming unraveled and a tragic event exposing the under garments which support the perfect image. When those hidden layers start dropping, the perfection reacts like a face lift going haywire when the lights come on. The difference between the two novels is the intended audiences. The Perfect Couple intended to entertain. Bill Clegg's book had a much deeper dimension. It was though-provoking, emotionally challenging, and really riveting.
Nevertheless, I wanted to read something lighter and The Perfect Couple was a good choice. The ending will make you think. It is unexpected, sad, but surprising. I loved that. But it is undoubtedly a slightly raunchy chick-lit experience with a whodunit thrown in to expand the possible reading audience.
***Spoilers included*** Any Hilderbrand book is going to include scenes of Nantucket, detailed descriptions of lavish food, and characters with ridiculous names. Typically, the plots center around characters coming to Nantucket for various events, having sex, and feeling recharged or enlightened by their experiences. This time, Hilderbrand seemed to try something different (for her, not in pop culture, as this was a lukewarm version of a Big Little Lies type of mystery).
Plot: Celeste, a meek, innocent, “girl next door” zoo employee meets Benji, the son of Greer and Tag who are super rich and live on Nantucket. In the present, her maid of honor (and only friend) Merritt was found dead at Greer and Tag’s house on the day of the wedding and even though it could be ruled as accidental, there’s an investigation. The investigation and flashbacks reveal that Merritt was having an affair with Tag and was pregnant, Benji’s older brother was having an affair with the younger sister of Tag’s dead best friend (Featherleigh, which isn’t even the most ridiculous name Hilderbrand has given readers. She once included a teenage boy named Bluto), Celeste was planning to run away with Benji’s best friend, Shooter, and Celeste’s dad had a crush on a man that his wife never realized. In the end, the death is ruled an accident, which it was, and readers are left to I guess wonder if Celeste and Shooter get together (which I couldn’t care less about).
What I liked: • Greer is an appropriately hilarious snob and I appreciated her opinions on other writers: “She had always despised Joyce, pretentious sod, writing in code and asking his readers to follow the twists and turns of his demented mind” (106). Preach! She also tried to do right by her kids and tried to help Celeste acclimate. I didn’t like that Greer got no closure. I was hoping she had murdered Merritt and was living out one of her mysteries or was lying to readers the whole time about her involvement, which would have been very unique and impressive for a writer like Hilderbrand, but instead Hilderbrand just has Greer lose her publication deal. Boohoo. • I’ve never applauded Hilderbrand for her writing skills, yet I’ve read more books by her than most authors. What brings me back? I know what I’ll get: A real beach read. Last year, I appropriately began The Identicals in Charleston, SC and felt it was a perfect pairing. This time, I started reading on a pretty chilly June day in North Carolina, desperately wanting an escape from worrying about my research proposal and lamenting that I wasn’t on a fun vacation. Somehow, Hilderbrand really does transport readers to the “beach,” even though most of her characters usually suck and the plots aren’t very memorable. So, there is some kind of skill there, but it’s not one I typically value; the setting is usually not too important for me. • I learned that people put a lot of disgusting things in Bloody Marys, which makes me want to try one even less. Beef jerky?! • I was motivated to keep reading until the end.
What I hated: • Celeste. Everything about Celeste, who is constantly falling asleep like she has lupus or something, moaning while she does anything with her mouth (chewing, kissing, etc.), stuttering and not trying to seek any help for it like counseling (which she desperately needed), and clinging to her parents. Granted, I knew a really pathetic girl who used to have her mother drive her to college each day, then her first professional job, and everyone knew something was off about her, yet Celeste is some prize that multiple rich hot guys want and can succeed living in New York making only 60,000 a year. Celeste was so obsessed with her parents that she wanted the same type of wedding as them. She acted like she was five, always wanting to eat the “Fudgey Wudgey” and avoid facing the reality of her life by pining after a guy who basically ran bachelor parties every week of his life. The most interesting thing she does in the book is order a passion fruit flavored ice instead of lemon, which she attributes to being with Benji, not Shooter. • Celeste’s hypocrisy with Benji, who was a really decent guy and out of her league. She liked Shooter because he was interesting, when all she did was hang out with her parents or go to work. She judged Benji for relying on his parents’ money, but she relied on her parents’ emotional support so she didn’t have to work for friendships throughout her childhood/young adulthood. She acted like she wanted a guy who earned his life, but Shooter freeloaded off of Benji and it’s not like he was giving back by volunteering at homeless shelters. She resented Benji thinking her family was “salt of the Earth,” when Shooter found Celeste attractive because she was so down to Earth. She didn’t like how Benji spent money on her, but Shooter is able to get her to agree to run away with him by saying he will whisk her away and even pay for her parents to go to Vegas. She judges Benji for being materialistic, then decides that her biggest reason for marrying him is so she can enjoy his family’s material possessions on Nantucket! Let’s face it: Celeste liked Shooter because he was hotter and she wanted to have sex with him. Pretty simple. • Shooter’s character. He’s some kind of successful playboy who would rather hang out with a socially awkward girl who can barely string a sentence together? He’s literally unbelievable. In reality, if they did have a relationship, he would leave her, or she would spend her life trying to “heal” him from his past traumas. Yay. Plus, he’s super creepy. Celeste literally wakes up (because she sleeps through half the book) and sees him watching her! Twilight, much? • The most interesting part of the book was Karen finding out that Bruce had an intense crush on a man, then instead of opening up a side plot that would be far more diverse than what Hilderbrand’s go-to plots are, it’s resolved by Karen dismissing it as being in the past and flushing her suicide pills. Okay….. • Why was Hilderbrand so obsessed with having Chloe and Finn MacAvoy as random side characters in this book (they were kids from another book). Did real Hilderbrand fans actually care about them? I don’t even remember them. It seemed like forced plugs. • As another reviewer has stated, all of the women are either virginal/virtuous, bitches, or sluts. The bitches have to live with the men who cheated on them, the virginal/virtuous remain adored by men, and the sluts die or leave. So much for a woman writing about strong, complex women…I didn’t like Merritt, but giving her death no real justice seemed like a cautionary tale for a young woman in Hilderbrand’s own life. • I get that Hilderbrand survived breast cancer and it is a significant part of her own life now, but is a character going to have breast cancer in every book? It doesn’t fit with every plot. • The ending was so dull I almost fell asleep (like Celeste).
I like when authors try something new, but Celeste is one of the most boring, pathetic characters I’ve encountered in some time.
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll repeat myself every single summer, but summer doesn’t officially start for me until I’ve read the latest Elin Hilderbrand novel. While I have several authors on my summer must read list every year, hers are the books I look forward to the most, she really is the queen of the beach read and The Perfect Couple is her best book yet!
While Hilderbrand’s books definitely aren’t always sunshine and cocktails, this was a bit of a departure from her previous books. There’s still that wonderful ensemble cast where you feel like you’re a fly on the wall, and there’s also the stunning backdrop of the now familiar beaches of Nantucket, but this had a slightly darker feel since there’s a murder mystery at its core. Think Liane Moriarty in terms of vibe but set it among the super elite and wealthy and that’s TPC.
This was yet another effortless read, super entertaining and a true page turner. Hilderbrand is such a great writer, she really brings Nantucket to life, you can smell the lobster rolls, feel the sand between your toes and imagine you’re surrounded by the glitzy characters who reside in Nantucket. These characters all had juicy secrets and problems and I was eager to find out what really happened to Merritt and along the way there were plenty of turns. A few characters from her previous novels are featured, catching up on their lives was awesome, especially Chief Ed as The Castaways was one of my favorite books. Recommended to everyone, I’m calling it the must read book of the summer purely based on it’s fun factor alone but it’s incredibly well written and plotted to perfection boot, the ultimate summer read.
The Perfect Couple in three words: Juicy, Secretive and Fun.
I surprised myself how much I enjoyed this book. I was staying away from Hilderbrand thinking her books were female fiction, full of romance, which is rarely my thing. And so I was very hesitant to pick this up. However, after reading some great reviews from my GR friends I decided to give it a go. And I'm sooo glad I did.
First of all, I want to point out that the Perfect Couple is a murder mystery! Perhaps that contributed to how much I adored it? The book starts on the morning of Celeste's wedding day, when a dead body of her maid of honour is found on the shore of Nantucket. The timeline then jumps from the present to the past revealing the relationships between the wedding guests and their history. There are at least a couple of chapters focusing on each main character which I thoroughly enjoyed. Hilderbrand managed to portray everyone in such a vivid way that they all seemed very alive to me. I found the realistic aspect of the novel even more profound by incorporating the little details such as the titles of the books the characters were reading, places they visited in Europe - all very familiar to me.
The novel is based on the island of Nantucket. I haven't been to Nantucket but got engaged next door at Martha's Vineyard last year so felt a bit of connection to the atmosphere and vibe of the place.
This was my first Hilderbrand novel and it gets 5 stars for me. I do realise however that I might have lucked out by picking this one as my first book and might not like her other books as much. Who knows.. I will have to read another one and see for myself.
This book is getting adapted into Netflix series starring Nicole Kidman, Liv Schreiber, Dakota Fanning, Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor. I cannot wait to binge watch this chick lit meets murder mystery with the direction of Big Little Lies’ Susan Bier!
A complex read! The characters are deceptive, prestigious, reserved, and wealthy; while the plot is an elaborate whodunnit mystery set in beautiful Nantucket. When a bridesmaid turns up dead at a destination wedding packed full of guests who all have something to hide, loyalties are tested as adultery, family drama, and secrets are brought to light. The Perfect Couple is another riveting novel by Elin Hilderbrand, one which reveals that the more illustrious a family seems to be, the harder they fall during times of difficulty.