Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review: The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: July 6, 2010
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement.  It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she's embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store - a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles. But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known. It's a summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell, filled with the heartache, laughter, and surprises that have made her page-turning, bestselling novels as much a part of summer as a long afternoon on a sunny beach."
Birdie is a middle-aged mother of two daughters and is recently divorced.  She has been passing the time by planning Chess, her eldest daughter's, wedding to Mr. Perfect, Michael Morgan.  Birdie has also finally been dating and has met a nice man who treats her very well.  All hell breaks loose when Birdie receives a middle of the night phone call from Chess about how she has called off her wedding, quit her big time job in New York City and is going to move back home.  This is not the norm for Chess as she has always done the "right" thing and is the daughter that has got it together, so this sets Birdie on a tail spin.  To further complicate matters, Chess receives even more bad news about Michael and starts to have a nervous breakdown.  Birdie enlists help from her sister, India, and her other daughter, Tate.  They decide to spend a month at their family beach house on Tuckernuck Island off the coast of Nantucket.  Birdie's hope is that they can help Chess while spending quality girl time together.  Imagine a place where there's no phone, no internet, no hot water and no car to drive off in. It's back to the basics at Tuckernuck and while there, each woman must deal with her own set of issues. While at Tuckernuck, Birdie realizes a few things about herself and her relationships, India must deal with addressing demons from her past as well as a possible new relationship in her life, Tate sees her childhood crush on the island, and Chess, of course, must move on with her life.  Elin Hilderbrand's The Island is the perfect beach read; I only wish I had read it sooner!

Birdie has dedicated her whole life to raising her two daughters and when she divorces her husband, Grant, she realizes she has a lot of time on her hands to do what she wants for once.  She's been dating again and is hesistant to leave her new boyfriend to go to Tuckernuck for a month, but she knows Chess needs help; after all, Chess's therapist said it would be beneficial.  While at Tuckernuck, Birdie takes care of everyone and often puts herself last.  But things start evolving at Tuckernuck for Birdie....she starts to realize some things about her new boyfriend and starts getting along with Grant again, which raises many quesitons in her mind.

India is a complex character in The Island who also has her own ghosts to deal with and where better to address them than while on Tuckernuck? One aspect that I enjoyed about India is the fact that she lives near where I live in Pennsylvania and Hilderbrand mentioned many local landmarks that I am familiar with. It's always fun when this happens.  By the end of the summer, India may still have many unanswered questions, but she really grows and ends up leaving a few things behind.

Tate, my favorite character in The Island, is energetic, smart, and completely attention deficit. She jumps to conclusions, is overly emotional, but is oh-so-entertaining and that's why I like her.  Her childhood crush, Barrett Lee, the house caretaker, is back in the picture this summer. She has pined for him since she was a child and Tate makes it her summer's mission to get his attention and avoid him falling into Chess's clutches, as most guys do.  She often feels like she is in Chess's shadow and she hopes that this summer on Tuckernuck will improve their relationship.

Chess is such a sad character in The Island. I could really feel her melancholy radiating off the page. Most of what we learn about her is revealed through her journal entries, which is something I really enjoyed reading. We get to learn what exactly happened with her relationship, why she called the wedding off, and why she quit her job.  Chess has some dark demons to face while on Tuckernuck, but she finds herself slowly healing and as she heals, readers get to learn more about what truly happened.

The point of view in The Island alternates from each female character, which I really liked. I didn't find it hard to jump between the four women and I liked each character's tale, which is rare in a book with that many point of views.  Hilderbrand's storytelling is perfect for the beach. There's drama, family, secrets, romance and of course, the amazing setting of Tuckernuck Island. After I finsihed The Island, I immediately looked for more books by Hilderbrand. Being the beach bum that I am, how could I have not read her books before?

I was so very addicted to The Island and I highly recommend it for fans of chick-lit and family drama. It would be a perfect addition to some sunshine and long days at the beach.


  1. Family drama and chic lit. Sounds awesome. Great review. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. It definitely took me by surprise! I loved it! Thanks for visiting, Jennifer!

  2. I haven't read anything by Elin Hilderbrand either but this sounds like a fantastic story! I will definitely be adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for your review!

    1. I was so surprised by this book that I immediately added more of her books to my TBR list....definitely a great read for summer. I hope her other books are just as good. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  3. I'm intrigued by the character of Chess! I haven't read anything by Hilderbrand before, but this one definitely sounds worth checking out!

    1. Chess was an awesome character. You should definitely check out The Island this summer. Thanks for visiting, Leanna! I am glad you are back to blogging! :)

  4. Replies
    1. Me too. I love the paperback cover too, but the hardback cover is my favorite. Thanks for visiting, Juju! I think you would like this one!

  5. I love books with alternating POV. It's always interesting to look at the story from different angles. Plus anything that takes place on an island, immediately has me interested

  6. I've seen Elin Hildenbrand's name around a lot and have always been intrigued but never picked up her books. I feel like this book would almost make me want to get away to an island with no connection to the outside world, something I've always wanted to do. The characters all sound so interesting and now I really want to read this. I will look for it this summer :) Thanks!


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