Format: Trade Paperback
Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
My Rating: 4/5
Summary (from chapters.ca):
A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. But what begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver of the car, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny's boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt - but the emotional damage is overwhelming, and questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.
As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents - secrets kept, promises broken, hearts betrayed. Elin Hilderbrand explores the power of community, family, and honesty, and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow, new love can still take flight.
**NOTE: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher. However, no compensations were made and this review reflects my honest thoughts and feelings.**
When tradegy strikes and you think it's your fault, how do you move on? Is it even possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel?
This story had a vastly different feel to it that all of Elin Hilderbrand's other Nantucket novels. The previous stories all left me with a feeling of comfort and relaxation. In fact, I found myself wanting to hop on the next plane and spend my summers on the beaches of Nantucket. With Summerland, we weren't introduced to characters that were vacationing but in fact, characters that lived on the island. It allowed for the readers to see Nantucket as a real community; a real home to real people where, yes, real things happen. I really appreciated this twist as it made me realize that even in the most wonderful of summer holiday towns, tragedy happens and those that care for your stay on the island are dealing with things other than if your coffee was fresh enough, or if the beach was free of garbage.
As with all of her other novels, Elin Hilderbrand has painted a beautiful picture with her words. The island and all of the characters come to life on the pages of Summerland and, once again, I found myself being swept away. Having the story broken into three parts, July, August and September, allowed the reader to understand the stages of grief and the stages of guilt that a person goes through. I also really enjoyed hearing the different viewpoints of each of the characters as it made for a more complete story. No judgements were made because I was able to hear each side of the story.
Overall, Summerland is a story that feels like a rainbow on a story afternoon. No matter how dreary the day seems, there is always a pot of gold out there somewhere. I fully recommend this book to all of Elin Hilderbrand's fans and to anyone who enjoys a summer story with a darker twist.