Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Island

The Island, by Elin Hilderbrand.

After college, Chess moved to New York City. She got a job in the advertising department at Glamourous Home; then she was promoted to editorial, where they could make better use of her talents. She indulged her lifelong love of cooking by attending the French Culinary Institute on the weekends and learning the proper way to dice an onion and how to measure in metric. She discovered Zabar's and Fairway and the greenmarket in Union Square. She threw dinner parties in her apartment, inviting people she barely knew and making difficult dishes that impressed them. She went to work early and stayed late. She smiled at everyone, she knew all her doormen by name, and she joined the Episcopal church on East Seventy-first Street and worked in the soup kitchen. She got promoted again. She was, at age twenty-nine, the youngest editor in the Diamond Publishing Group. Chess's life had been silk ribbon unspooling exactly the way it was supposed to - and then it was as if she'd looked down and the ribbon was a rat's nest, tangled and knotted. And so Chess threw the ribbon - spool and all - away.

I've read a few of Elin Hilderbrand's books, but this, from 2010, was by far the best I've read.

Chess is engaged to marry Michael, who is perfect on paper for her, but she pines for his brother, Nick, the fledgling rock star. Her sister, Tate, does very well for herself and owns her own business, but has never had a long-term relationship with anyone. When Chess abruptly breaks off her engagement to Michael, Birdie, their mother, invites her and Tate to spend a month with her on Tuckernuck Island, near Nantucket, and they cajole Birdie's sister India to go as well. While on the island, they must all face the problems they have been having, and they have a month to overcome them, as well as work through new ones.

The writing in this novel was fantastic, and the island is apparently real, as Hilderbrand refers to in the Acknowledgments section at the end of the book. Hilderbrand is a Nantucket resident, as well, which means she has a wealth of knowledge about it and its surrounding areas. Chess, India, Birdie, and Tate all are very different people, yet all fully brought to life in this novel, and it will engage its readers throughout its 403 pages.

4 stars out of 5.

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Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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