Shari's Reviews > The Island

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
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Aug 04, 2011

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Birdie Cousins is a fifty-something recently divorced woman happy to be planning the extravagant wedding of her oldest daughter Chess. Still floundering from no longer having a husband to care for (not that the workaholic Grant paid much attention to her anyway), Birdie throws herself into place settings, flowers, and a floating island for the pond in the backyard, a spectacular setting for the bride and groom’s first dance. It comes as something of a shock when Chess, who always does the expected with great success, comes home and announces that the wedding is off. She does not love the perfect Michael Morgan and will not be marrying him.

Crushed for her daughter, Birdie at the same time is reveling in new love Hank, but she barely has a chance to enjoy herself before Chess further admits to quitting her job as food editor of a popular magazine. Worse yet, Chess offers no explanations for any of her behavior, frustrating her family, until a sudden tragedy takes them all off-guard and sends Chess spiraling downward. Birdie marshals the sisterly troops – younger daughter Tate and Birdie’s own sibling India. Together they flee with Chess to the family home on Tuckernuck, an island off the coast of Nantucket, searching for healing.

Along with this family of four women, each harboring a secret, author Elin Hilderbrand beckons readers to The Island, to peek into the life of the rich but troubled. For most of the book, the setting of Tuckernuck Island is a character unto itself, and readers may find themselves fascinated most by this private hideaway and the secrets it also holds. To call The Island a “beach read,” however, is to do it a disservice, for thankfully there is enough weight to the drama to give it a little more depth than that.

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