Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

This novel set on Nantucket Island was a fantastic read. This hard to put down book with its fast paced narrative was driven essentially by its characters who told the story in alternate voices and yet it was also plot driven, so a mix of both, which worked wonderfully well, it was not at all difficult to keep up with the characters, their back stories were beautifully lit and added another dimension to what could have been a lightweight read in the hands of a less skilled author.
The story begins with a horrendous car accident, one that will reverberate in ripples across the island and uncover secrets that have been skilfully buried, it will change and alter lives and take the narrative away across the seas to Perth, Western Australia and introduce a whole new set of richly drawn characters and away of life that is vastly different from that on the Island. I particularly loved the scene in the bar, where one of the main characters is watching a Rugby Game, Australia versus New Zealand, aka The Wallabies versus The All Blacks, Hilderbrand`s description of the All Blacks as Bad Asses is spot on.. It is obvious that Hilderbrand has done her research and done it well, her descriptions of people and places resonates and if you haven`t been there already you surely will want to by the time you finish reading this book. You will also want to see a Haka if you haven`t already!
Serious issues handled sensitively and wisely with compassion and empathy and with a realism that takes you right into the characters personal space and what characters Hilderbrand has drawn, linked to each other by life and loves and the circumstances of their residence, it is hard not to be drawn to them and harder still to let them go at the end of the book. Few readers will be unable to identify with the life issues tackled in this book and all will be able to empathise, most will be able to say "But for the grace god, go I".
A wonderful read with a marvellous dollop of humour, this book is available in Trade Paperback and also available via the Library System, this is an author well worth seeking out.

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