Title: The Island: A Novel
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Beach Read. Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
In order to reconnect with her daughter Chess before Chess’ wedding, Birdie decides that she will take her to their vacation home on the small island of Tuckernuck. Just a few weeks later, Chess breaks off the engagement with no explanation, then finds out a few days later that her ex-fiancé was killed in a rock climbing accident. Worried about Chess, her sister Tate and their aunt India join the two on Tuckernuck, trying to help Chess and face their own problems.
While I really enjoyed Elin Hilderbrand’s Barefoot, I have been somewhat disappointed by the soap opera nature of her last two novels A Summer Affair and The Castaways. Still, I was eager to pick up The Island to see if it measured up to Barefoot, and I’m really happy to say that it did. The Island was a fun, breezy beach read with a lot of heart.
Don’t get me wrong, The Island has plenty of drama. Each woman is dealing with her own issues. Though they are all aware of Chess’s problems, they keep their own hidden, trying to sort through them on their own. I personally liked Tate the most – she was smart and successful, but her life was lacking in the romance category. Returning to Tuckernuck gave her the opportunity to pursue Barrett, her teen crush who only seemed to have eyes for Chess.
The Tate-Chess sister relationship was extremely complicated. They certainly loved one another, but Chess was lashing out at everyone around her in her grief. Tate wanted to help, but at the same time resented her sister for having such an easy life. Chess certainly had her share of hardships, but through Tate’s eyes, her life was golden. Everything came easily to her, including Barrett, and Tate was always left behind. It’s interesting to see Tate work through those childhood feelings and come to a place of respect for Chess.
The Island was a perfect beach read. There was a great balance of drama, relationships, bonding, men, and just figuring things out. Additionally, Hilderbrand’s descriptions of Tuckernuck (no electricity?) definitely piqued my interest and made me sad that it’s a private, invitation-only island (yet I understand this – how else would they keep up their charm?) It’s a fun read with some interesting characters, and I definitely recommend it for a quiet summer day.