5 Elin Hilderbrand Books That Will Have You Shaking In Your Boots
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer editorial intern Jenna Wirtz. Find her on Instagram at @jenna.wirtz. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
New York Magazine has defined Elin Hilderbrand as “the queen of beach reads,” and I could not agree more.
Hilderbrand has mastered the Nantucket beach read, but with over 25 books and a sea of reviews out there, it can be hard to find a place where to start. I have read almost all of her books, and here are the top 5 books by her that are the perfect summer read, whether you are at the beach or on the couch.
If you’ve never had a chance to visit Nantucket, these novels give you a chance to step into the small island off of the coast of Massachusetts. I savor every moment I get to spend within the pages of a Hilderbrand novel. She is the master of fiction escapism, and isn’t that what you want when you crack open a book? Whether you are propping your feet up on your porch, stretching out on a sandy beach or enjoying a cold drink in your backyard, a Hilderbrand beach read is the perfect addition to your downtime.
Her plots vary, but you will find that in each of her stories, they are full of rich descriptions of Nantucket scenery, delicious summer food and unforgettable characters.I have yet to read a book by her that I have not enjoyed, she is an automatic buy author for me. You also can find her books stocked in airport shops where books are sold, that is where I found my very first Hilderbrand novel! I have brought her novels to many plane rides and beach days.
What are the best Elin Hilderbrand books to start with you might be asking? Here is a list of my top 5 favorite books by her, ending with my all-time favorite.
5. Silver Girl
Something I love about Hilderbrand is that stories do not just revolve around love and romance, but explore the joys and difficulties of family and friendship.
Silver Girl follows Meredith Delinn who just learned that her husband Freddy had cheated investors. She went from lavish living in NYC, to being homeless with all of her assets frozen, and no relationships to lean on after business partners and friends all saw how Freddy used them. She has no choice but to reach out to her old best friend, Constance. They decide to go off together to Nantucket to heal from the past few years. On the island she has to hide from the sort of people that her husband cheated money from, and wrestle with her feelings toward her husband who is now in jail.
They wrestle with what it means to be a friend, grief, anger, and how to forgive someone. I loved every moment exploring this friendship!
4. The Island
I bought a mass-market paperback copy of this novel and thought nothing of it as I sat in the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. I had just finished working at a summer camp in the mountains for a few months, and wanted something to entertain me on my flight back to Seattle. This novel is what sparked my love for Hilderbrand!
The Island follows Birdie Cousins, a mom who has inserted herself a little too much into her daughter Chess’s wedding planning. She gets a call one night from her daughter informing her that she has called off her engagement. To cope with the craziness of that, Birdie suggests her and Chess, and Birdie’s younger daughter Tate, along with Birdies sister India, go to Tuckernuck Island, which is off of the coast of Nantucket, where there is no cell service or TVs, so they can be free from distraction and connect with one another. They had grown up summering there for years, but this summer is full of secrets, ex-lovers and more.
I still feel connected to these characters and think about them, despite me reading about them a year ago. This is a great book to start with if you haven’t read any Hilderbrand before.
3. Golden Girl
I would venture to say this is the most popular book by Hilderbrand, especially if you have not read her other books. I have seen this on display at Target each time I go, and often run into it on BookTok. This is her most recent novel, her next is getting published this month which I am stoked about, and I believe that she has truly mastered her craft and demonstrated it in this novel.
Vivian Howe, an author of over a dozen novels with three kids in Nantucket seems to be living the dream life until she is suddenly killed in a hit-in-run while she is on her daily run. Golden girl follows her three kids grappling with this loss, Vivian in the afterlife with her guardian angel, and the police force trying to figure out who killed Vivian.
This novel has every element I want in a book. Mystery, romance, drama, and exploring what it means to be human and what is beyond this life. Getting in the mind of Vivian, and seeing her regrets and joys felt so significant and meaningful. I would argue this one of best Elin Hilderbrand books because she touches on the hard questions while still entertaining her audience.
This book has over 30,000 ratings on Amazon, with the average being 4.5. So, you are likely to enjoy this book alongside so many others!
2. 28 Summers
This book has an element that is found in a lot of her books, which is time jumps. I love being able to follow a character over a long period of time, along with hearing what is happening in the world as they are developing.
It follows two people, Mallory and Jake, who never had the right timing or lifestyles for their relationship, so they meet one day a year for a weekend in Nantucket.
When Mallory’s son Link finds a note left behind by his late mother with a phone number, he calls it and when Jake McCloud answers he is not sure how to react, as his wife is a frontrunner in the upcoming Presidental election.
The novel flashes back to the summer of 1993, where their love story and strange yearly tradition began, until they died. The reader is left to piece together their relationship and everything that was contained in their 28 summers together.
I loved the repetition of their tradition, with the shifting elements of both of their lives, and seeing everything that happened in the other 51 weekends they spent apart from each other. Even with the rise of social media and digital communication, they agreed early on that there would be no communication outside of their one perfect weekend together.
Anytime somebody is asking me for a book recommendation, I am immediately asking if they have read The Perfect Couple. I would argue, this is the best Elin Hilderbrand book.
My favorite genres are thriller and romance, and this book merries them in such an engaging way.
In the midst of a busy wedding season on Nantucket, a bride-to-be is found dead in the Nantucket Harbor the day of her wedding. It follows the chief of police, Ed Kapenash as he conducts interviews with the wedding party, trying to narrow down his list of suspects. He uncovers the many secrets that the weekend held, and the reader is left to come up with their own theories on what happened that weekend. I loved getting to know this cast of characters! With the ease of a beach read, and the thrill of a well, thriller, it held my attention for the duration of its pages and I hope the same for you.
Wherever you chose to start with your Hilderbrand journey, I am confident that you will run across characters you love, and stories that will capture your attention long after you put them down.
What do you think of this review? Let us know what the best Elin Hilderbrand books are according to you in the comments below!