Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 25, 2013
Source: Goodreads First Reads
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A summer wedding stirs up trouble on both sides of the family in this new novel from bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.  The Carmichaels and Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind The Notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event--but in reality, things are far from perfect. While the couple-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their own lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise, and hearts will be broken and healed. Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a touching journey in BEAUTIFUL DAY--into the heart of marriage, what it means to be faithful, and how we choose to honor our commitments."
The Carmichael family has vacationed every summer on Nantucket at their family beach house.  It comes as no surprise that youngest daughter Jenna would get married there.  Sadly, her mother has died a few years before from cancer, but has left her with a notebook that includes all of her thoughts regarding Jenna's wedding, such as who to invite, which flowers to use, what color bridesmaids' dresses, etc.  Even though Beth, Jenna's mother, cannot be there, she has meticulously planned Jenna's wedding...every last detail.  Things should go smoothly, but of course, they don't as weddings always bring out family drama.  Jenna's older sister, Margot, is obsessed with her father's business partner, and finds herself doing things for him that she shouldn't be.  Then there's Jenna's father, Doug Carmichael, who has remarried (too soon!) and has never really gotten over the love of his life, Beth.  The wedding is obviously going to be hard for him and bring out his true feelings, which Pauline, his new wife, picks up on.  Cue the tension.  Ann, the groom's mother, is a famous politician and seems to have it all together, but is falling apart over the fact that her husband's former mistress/ex-wife will be attending along with their child.  She is trying to pretend it doesn't bother her, but quite simply: it does. Elin Hilderbrand's latest delicious novel, Beautiful Day, captures everything you could want in a beach read. There's major family anxiety inducing drama, there's romance, secrets, a wedding, and one disaster after another all set against the beautiful back drop of Nantucket.

The interesting thing about Beautiful Day is the fact that all the characters annoyed me to some degree, but somehow Hilderbrand made me feel and care for them.  The point of view in Beautiful Day jumped from a few Carmichael family members to even Ann, the groom's mother.  As in her other novels, Hilderbrand does a fantastic job with this and it never gets confusing; in fact, it adds to the story as you to know the characters a bit better and figure out what exactly is going on.  Hilderbrand even includes excerpts of Beth's wedding notebook! With this technique, readers get a backstory and the opportunity to delve deeper into the characters' worlds.  Sometimes when authors do this, I find myself gravitating towards a particular character, but surprisingly, Hilderbrand made each equally invested in each character despite the fact that they.drove.me.nuts.  

For starters, Margot's obsession with Edge, her dad's coworker, is a case of "he's just not that into you." I soooo wanted to say that to her and slap her silly, but she was completely blinded by him even though he treated her like crap.  The same goes for Ann, the groom's mother.  Although you would think she was truly a confidant woman since she is a politician, she was falling apart for most of the wedding, thanks to Helen's (her husband's former mistress) presence.  However, the kicker is that SHE invited Helen despite the fact that her husband said she shouldn't.  And you are probably wondering why they would even discuss the possibility of inviting her, but the fact of the matter is that her husband and Helen's son, Chance, is a groomsmen.  It's nuts and makes the ingredients for an epic wedding catastrophe, especially because Helen is the opposite of a gracious guest in Beautiful Day.  

To add to the drama, Jenna, the bride, is second guessing the marriage due to a secret about her fiancĂ© that she finds out from Helen.  (Why did they even invite her!?) Jenna is also not speaking to her best friend and married bridesmaid, because she is having some sort of relationship with her brother, who is a notorious player.  As you can see, even the bride is dealing with some major drama on her big day.

And there's tons more drama in Beautiful Day, but I don't want to give any more spoilers away. Even though this seems like chick-lit dessert, there are serious parts to Beautiful Day.  My favorite was the excerpts from Beth's wedding notebook. Although I felt Beth to be majorly controlling Jenna's wedding, right down to the linens used, it brought a tear to my eye.  There's also the fact that Doug isn't over Beth and being at Nantucket for their youngest daughter's wedding really brings this to light.  His memories of Beth were so beautiful and touching. So, there's the right mix of seriousness and the crazy, hilarious antics of the wedding in Beautiful Day.

If you have ever planned a wedding and had nutty family members (can you tell I speak from experience?) do crazy things on your big day, then you can totally appreciate Beautiful Day.  It made for an excellent beach read and Elin Hilderbrand is easily becoming one of my go-to authors for a delicious summertime novel.

12 comments:

  1. I love books about how crazy weddings are! Everything I've heard about Elin Hilderbrand is so good. And it's interesting to know that even though all the characters annoy you, the author is still able to get you to sympathize with them! Definitely the best kind of story.. I can't wait to read this one :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am definitely enjoying her books and want to check out some others. Thanks for visiting, Andrea!

      Delete
  2. This sounds like another great summer read. I am all about Nantucket settings after reading Nantucket Blue. I so want to go visit! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. I have never been, but would love to go. Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

      Delete
  3. "...romance, secrets, a wedding, and one disaster after another all set against the beautiful back drop of Nantucket." - sounds like a good book!

    That's interesting that the author made you care about the characters, even when you were annoyed with them. That's hard to do!

    Nice review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right?! All of the characters thoroughly annoyed me, but I was totally hooked. Thanks for dropping by, Lea!

      Delete
  4. Sounds like it would make a cool movie. Great review shug!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man...you are sooo right! It would be a great movie. Thanks for visiting, Juju.

      Delete
  5. I am glad that you found much to like about the book even with the difficult characters. This may have too much drama for me but I do like books featuring wedding chaos. It sounds like maybe Jenna should decide what she wants instead of going along with her mom's idea of a perfect wedding though it is nice to honor her wishes a little.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a ton of drama, but you might like it. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

      Delete
  6. Normally I do get confused when a book jumps between several different characters, or I lose interest in the people I'm following save for the one I like most, but I'm glad that Elin handles a large cast of characters really well. I know my mother in law is a huge fan of this author, I'll have to check and see if she's read this one! Awesome review Christina:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenny! I've been impressed with Elin Hilderbrand and definitely plan on reading more of her books. Thanks for visiting!

      Delete

I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
Design by: Designer Blogs