Title: Beautiful Day
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Beach Read
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Jenna Carmichael is getting married this weekend on Nantucket, and she knows that everything will be almost perfect. The absence of her mother, Beth, will be felt deeply, but when Beth was dying of cancer, she wrote a notebook filled with tips and advice for Jenna’s wedding day, and Jenna has followed that to the letter. But what Jenna can’t control is the complicated lives of her friends and family, each of whom will deal with their own issues on her lovely wedding weekend.
Beautiful Day is a quintessential beach read, set against the gorgeous backdrop of Nantucket. From the very first pages, the reader is able to relax into the book, knowing that they are in for a beachy, summery treat. Like all of Elin Hilderbrand’s novels, this is a great summer read, filled with gossip, drama, and a light plot that won’t require too much exertion.
Each character in Beautiful Day is flawed, and as at any wedding, these issues rear their ugly heads over the course of the weekend. Jenna is patient and sweet, but incredibly immature, while her older sister, Margot, must play the mom role while grappling with her own life difficulties. Hilderbrand rounds out her characters well, developing each of them individually, and while some of them are difficult to like, they are incredibly realistic and leap off the page. It’s easy to become emotionally involved in the storyline, as readers hope the wedding weekend won’t end in disaster.
One big issue I did have with Beautiful Day was the premise. I appreciated that Jenna wanted to have the perfect wedding, what with her mother being absent, but Beth’s need to control every aspect of her daughter’s wedding from beyond the grave was a bit distasteful, especially given that she’s basically presented as a saint in this novel. It was a bit strange that Beth would pour all her last energy into orchestrating her daughter’s wedding, rather than focusing on more important issues, but once I was able to let go of this source of irritation, I was able to appreciate this novel for what it was.
If you’re looking for an effortless read for the beach or by the pool, then Beautiful Day is a winner. Once again, Hilderbrand writes a great summer novel, full of complex characters leading messy lives. If your book club is looking for a beach read, this would be a great pick, as you’ll want to discuss these characters long after the last pages are turned.
Other books by Elin Hilderbrand: