Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
The Good: I've read all of Elin Hilderbrand's previous novels, so I had high expectations for this novel and it didn't disappoint. There is something comforting knowing that you will pretty much enjoy a book before you start it. When you become a fan of an author and know the sound of their writing, know the little quirks that make them such a good writer in your eyes, reading their books becomes an escape. I would label Elin Hilderbrand's novels as the PERFECT beach reads. Even if you aren't on a beach, after you read her novels, you want to be. I think this novel, along with all her other ones are so polished, so well written that it's an all consuming read. I am totally engulfed in the characters, scenes etc. In this particular novel, I thought Hilderbrand really captured what it would be like to be the wife of a Ponzi Scheme conspirator and mastermind. Meredith is under investigation, broke and the victim of extreme hatred by those that lost millions in her husband's scheme. Hilderbrand really made Meredith a woman I could relate to if this were my situation. She is both loyal and loving to her husband, but extremely devastated by what he's done and all the lives he's ruined...including hers. She was the perfect mixture of good and bad traits and I think anyone reading this novel will laugh and cry with Meredith. I also thought the other characters in the book were written so well that I knew them by the end. I even enjoyed the mild love story that was weaved through. It was enough to satisfy my longing for romance but not too much to be considered a "romance" novel. Really though, this book should have been read while I was on the beach with a pina colada in my hand. :)
The Bad: Just a few nit-picky things here...I thought that the tension between the main characters Meredith and Connie was caused by something much bigger than what it really was and it was disappointing. The way the characters are written you can tell they were the BEST of BEST kind of friends and it to me, it doesn't seem like the "reason" they stopped talking was enough to tear them apart. I wish Hilderbrand would have explored Meredith's relationship with Toby more.. I felt like we were really getting places towards the end of the book and then BAM it's over. I wanted more!!!
P.S. I'm putting a disclaimer here that when it comes to Elin Hilderbrand, I'm a bit biased as she is one of my mentors, she graduated from University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop and I've sat in the same classroom she has and I love to see great writers come from that program and make it big.
Overall, this was as expected, a great read! I would give it an A!
*I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.