By Elin Hilderbrand
Publication Date: June 14, 2022
Elin Hilderbrand has brought Nantucket to life for millions of readers. I’m definitely one of them. I love the fictional residents, many of whom appear in multiple novels, the farms, the towns, everything about the island. In her latest novel, she breathes life into a hotel and its resident ghost.
Here’s the blurb: After a devastating fire in the early 1920s, the Hotel Nantucket has gone through several owners and different iterations, none of which were successful. Some say the hotel is cursed. Then London billionaire Xavier Darling purchases and renovates the property, determined to win the coveted Five Keys from hotel critic Shelly Carpenter. But the hotel isn’t the only character looking for a new beginning – each member of the staff comes with their own baggage, hoping the summer and their new positions will also give them a fresh start.
This novel starts with the town as narrator, a feature in several of Hilderbrand’s novels. I’m not really a fan of it, but with such a huge cast of characters, an omniscient point of view makes sense. We follow no fewer than six primary characters as they get hired, trained, and learn to run the hotel to Xavier Darling’s standards (his $1000 per week bonus doesn’t hurt as a motivator). However, issues abound – from apparent con artists appearing the first week, to low occupancy and general lack of buzz about the property, to personal issues plaguing the staff. Even the town is split in their interest – and that’s where the problem was for me. If the town didn’t care about the hotel, why should I? So the first 40% or so the pacing dragged through the set-up for multiple characters.
Then I turned a corner and the story came to life. Possibly I finally decided there wasn’t going to be just one or two main characters. Or possibly it was because each character had gone through their introduction, so their story began to unfold and I had enough information to be interested. Regardless, I was happy to be able to get lost in the story. And this is a great story – I found myself flipping pages to read “just one more chapter”, despite the fact I had to get up much sooner than I liked. Tons of highs and lows building to more than one climax and great use of the large cast to bring together unexpected outcomes. I had a few logistical questions about one of them but can’t go into that here without tossing out a spoiler. As an endnote, I did become invested in one of the characters, but it wasn’t the one I expected to care about at the beginning.
Even if this novel isn’t on the level of 28 Summers, it didn’t disappoint. If I ever come into some unexpected money, a trip to Nantucket is on my bucket list.
I rated this novel 3.75 stars. ⭐⭐⭐+
Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for providing the ARC copy of this book. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.
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