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Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

So Beautiful Day is the third book by Elin Hilderbrand that I've read.  Previously I read The Castaways and The Island, both of which were reviewed here on the blog (click the book titles to go to those reviews).  After I finished The Family by David Laskin, I got sucked in to Beautiful Day.  And sucked in is a pretty accurate description because the book was pretty hard to put down while I was reading it.  The common thread that runs through all of Elin Hilderbrand's books is setting; they are all set on Nantucket Island.  I must say that I rather enjoy the island setting.

The Carmichael and Graham families are gathering on Nantucket Island to celebrate the nuptial weekend of Jenna Carmichael, the adored baby of the Carmichael family, and Stuart, the eldest of four brothers Graham.  These families bring with them more than their fair share of drama and tension.  Hanging over all of this is the intensely felt absence of Beth, the much beloved matriarch of the Carmichael family, who lost a battle with cancer seven years previously.  Nonetheless Beth's spirit infuses every detail of the wedding weekend thanks to a notebook she left behind for Jenna in which Beth recorded all the advice, details, plans, and wisdom she wouldn't be present to share with her youngest child on her wedding day.

Back to the drama each family brings with them--it is messy, and it threatens to derail the wedding.  There are at least two disintegrating marriages, an ex-mistress and the son born of that affair in attendance, a top secret May-December romance, a friendship that hits the skids, and the requisite tensions among stepsisters, siblings and between stepchildren and stepmother.  There is also the inherent stress that comes with hosting a large wedding reception in one's backyard while trying to avoid the trampling of one's beloved, late mother's perennial bed.

Thrown in for good measure is the small mystery of how Margot, the eldest Carmichael child, did wrong to Griffin Wheatley, Homecoming King.  The mystery is complicated by the subtle hints of a possible romance that might blossom between these two if Margot's slight of Griffin, of which he is not aware, doesn't douse the sparks of romance before they really have a chance to fly.

I told you there was drama!  And it did keep me reading because I wanted to know how everything worked out.  I also wanted one of those epilogues at the end that tells you how the future rolled out for these people in the months or years ahead.  However, I didn't get one of those (unfortunately).  I did order several Elin Hilderbrand books from the library as well as a couple novels by Nancy Thayer who also writes novels set on Nantucket Island.  I highly recommend you check out Beautiful Day; it's a drama filled page turner.

--Ms. Angie

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