I’ve been reading Elin Hilderbrand since she first began writing. I fell in love with Nantucket because of Elin. I’ve never set foot on Nantucket but in my mind I’ve been there 28 times. Every summer there is a new novel set on Nantucket Island. And every summer I am there.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to read a review copy of 28 SUMMERS. I wanted to take my time and savor it but, I ended up swallowing it whole. When I turned the last page and shut the book, I stood up and was dumbfounded to discover that my backyard was not the Atlantic Ocean. I had become so totally immersed in 28 SUMMERS that I actually lost myself for a moment in time. I did not make this up. When I tell you that this novel is one of the most moving love stories I’ve ever read, I am not kidding. I am not exaggerating. It’s extraordinary.
Elin has used the movie SAME TIME NEXT YEAR as the theme of 28 SUMMERS. It works. It’s genius. And it’s totally right for this point in time. We need escapism. And here it is.
Love the cover. For me, a great cover is the best way to grab your readers. And this one is a real winner. The first chapter is numbered Summer#28: 2020. So it’s beginning with the end. I love the beginning of each chapter where Elin gives us a synopsis of what we were talking about that particular year. She does it with each summer. It’s so perfect because it sets us up to remember what was going on that year. I love this. In this poignant last summer Mallory Blessing is telling her son Link that there’s an envelope in the desk. On the front of the envelope is a message saying only , Please call. Link is with his mother in her beach cottage on Nantucket. Inside the envelope is one thing: a phone number……We discover that Link’s mom is dying of cancer and he is only nineteen. And so the story begins
Part One is titled Twenties. Summer#1: 1993. Here we first meet Mallory Blessing who is twenty-four years old and living on the Upper East Side of New York with her very best friend in the world. We are reminded at the top of the chapter what is going on in the world: Waco, Texas; World Trade Center bombing; Arthur Ashe; R.E.M.; Lorena Bobbitt; Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson, and Demi Moore; NAFTA; River Phoenix; the EU; Got Milk?; Nordic Track; Rabin and Arafat; Monica Seles; Sleepless in Seattle; the World Wide Web; the Buffalo Bills losing the Super Bowl for the third straight time; Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer; Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You.’ You get the picture..
Mallory has inherited an amazing old cottage on the ocean on Nantucket from her aunt Greta. Lucky girl. So when Mallory’s brother Cooper is getting married he asks if he can bring some guys for Labor Day weekend; a bachelor party of sorts. She agrees and so the party is on. But the party ends up being more of a party for two for various reasons. This is where Mallory meets Jake McCloud and her life is forever changed.
Each subsequent summer and continuing on to amount to 28 in all, Jake and Mallory manage to get together on Nantucket for Labor Day weekend. One weekend each year. Only one. Why? Because that is what works for them. Maybe they would not have that special spark if they had to deal with the mundane events of everyday life. Mallory knows she loves living on Nantucket. She is not going to leave the island even to be with Jake. Jake’s life is not on the island. And he’s been involved in a very serious relationship with his girlfriend since they were kids. There is history and baggage. So the one weekend a year system continues to work for them both.
All the characters in this novel are well-developed. Cooper is Mallory’s brother. He’s not able to sustain a marriage longer than it takes to say I do. Mallory’s parents really want her to get married and be happy. Their version. Leland is Mallory’s best friend who we discover is not such a great friend after all. And Frazier is one of Cooper’s best friends who becomes a vital part of the story.
I knew I wanted this novel to last, but I also could not put it down for long. The ocean kept calling and Labor Day Weekend was always beckoning. OMG! The romance. The beach. The cottage. The food. Being on the water. Summertime. This book is escapism at its peak.
Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I have to tell you that it is a very satisfying ending. And I sobbed. I was happy to have the house to myself so I could wallow in it.
Elin Hilderbrand was visiting the island of St. John while I was reading the book. She’s working on the third in the Winter Series that will come out in October. She lives on the island part of the year. How very cool.
Elin Hilderbrand has lived on Nantucket for 28 years. She moved there and lived in a small apartment to begin with. She was twenty-three.
Little Brown will publish 28 SUMMERS on June 16 and everyone will be able to read this amazing novel for themselves. I am putting this amazing novel on the very top of my summer reading list of favorites. I think you will too. I hope you’ll think of Copperfish Books and order from us. You know how much we love you guys.