18 July 2011

The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand

The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand

I love me some beach reads.  This book fits the bill perfectly.  This book not only is a beach read, but it is a really really good beach read.  The kind of story that you wish all summer themed novels could be like.  The plot may be "light", but it has emotional resonance, which elevates the overall pleasure of reading.

We are on a beach club/hotel on Nantucket Island, following the owners, staff and guests of the institution during a watershed summer for all the characters.  One could approach this book and dissuaded by the fact that it is set in rich Nantucket.  Rest assured, however, Hilderbrand does not write a novel centering around the lives and problems of the rich guests.  Instead, she makes the staff the focal point of the novel, illustrating their interactions with the evanescent world of a Nantucket summer.

What stuck with me most about the book was how the organization really supported Hilderbrand's unique storytelling style.  She focuses the plot on her unique characters and their goals for the summer.  They all have a history and an uncertain future that makes them highly relateable.  Each chapter focuses on a certain member of staff and a particular guest.  This evokes the passage of time during the summer marvelously, from the quick beginning, to the never-ending days of August, leading right up to the sudden ending in September; the reader will truly feel that they have experienced a summer after reading The Beach Club.

The main issues with the novel that prevents it from being an exceptional read in general is the amount of characters.  Although the reader is able to connect with the majority of them, there are times when the vast number seems overwhelming, preventing each character from being fully developed.  Immediately after getting an insight into one character, the reader is thrust into the world of another, which can be a disjointing and nearly alienating experience whilst reading.

Overall, The Beach Club is a fun book that I would reach for during the summer months, but could not see myself enjoying during an English winter.  The time and atmosphere of summer is evoked excellently, yet the characters, though highly entertaining, are not given adequate time to take off.  Take this to the beach, on the subway, or whenever you feel the need for a little summer fun.  Yet don't go for this during the winter, it just won't shine in the proper way.

Do you like to read books based on season?  What are your picks for this summer?

Un Bacione,


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