Friday, July 10, 2009

Book Tour: Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

"Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys,
Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed. Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life."

My Thoughts:

At the beginning, the cast of characters seemed almost overwhelming but I was quickly immersed into the lives of these four couples. At first, all seems idyllic with the friendships solid and loyal between these eight characters. But their intricate lives are not all as happy as they appear on the surface. From each character's personal viewpoint, the reader learns through flash backs and some present moments that there are underlying dark secrets within each one of them. They all have their own weaknesses and strengths as diverse individuals and as part of a relationship.

Hilderbrand does a fabulous job of character development. With each new viewpoint, another character layer is revealed showing them all to be somewhat flawed and truly human. The complex group dynamics of the friendships was as interesting as each individual story and each marital relationship. I think that's why this book reads so authentically. The only character that did not ring true to me was Andrea, the Chief's wife. Her reaction and virtual withdrawal from life over Tess's death felt over the top melodramatic to me. One of the characters I really liked was Phoebe even though she had her own way of coping with pain and loss. She lived in a pharmaceutical and alcoholic haze for most of the book. But she did redeem herself and made the ending of the book so worthwhile.

I have read several of Hilderbrand's books prior to this one. In my opinion, The Castaways has a plot line and characters with a lot more depth and have a little more contemporary edge to them than some of her previous books. If you're looking for a really enticing escape read, you need look no further than The Castaways. For book clubs, this would be a wonderful selection. I can see plenty of discussion possibilities. Highly recommended. 4****
For other participating tours today, please visit:

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket. She is the author of ten novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

A big thank you to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for a copy of this delightful book and allowing me the privilege of taking part in the tour.

Visit Elin Hilderbrand's Nantucket


  1. I had to make a little character chart at first, but it didn't take me long to throw it away. The characters in this book are fantastic!

  2. I have another of her books, The Love Season, sitting here to be read, but I've added this book to my list because of all the positive reviews.

  3. Almost every review I've seen on the tour praises Hilderbrand's character development. I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  4. Kaye, I'm glad to read your thoughts. I'll be reading this soon and really look forward to it since so many bloggers are liking it. I've read a couple other books by EH and have enjoyed them.

  5. Nice review, Kaye, as always and looks like Elin has a winner according to all the tour stops I have seen!

  6. I liked your review. I also enjoyed the book, particularly the characters.

    We seem to be on coordinated book tours, sharing The Castaways today and One Scream Away next Tuesday!

  7. Hi Kaye :D
    Really nice review. It sounds like a good one. I could use an escape!

    I fixed the link for the photo site. It's a very cool site. Have fun with it!

  8. Great Review! I am reading A Summer Affair after this one. :)

  9. It seems like I've been seeing this book on every other blog I visit but everyone just seems to love it! I think I'll look for it (if I don't win it somewhere first!). thanks!

  10. I had trouble following the characters at first as well but once I did, I was totally taken into their lives. I really enjoyed this novel and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.


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