Secrets abound in The Castaways, a novel about friendships, love, loss and forgiveness. Set on Nantucket Island, these four couples seem to be the closest of friends: Chief and Andrea Kapenash, Addison and Phoebe Wheeler; Tess and Greg MacEvoy; and Jeffrey and Delilah Drake. On Tess and Greg's anniversary, the two head out for a celebration on their sailboat only to meet with disaster; they mysteriously drown. Their friends are devastated and desperately want to know what happened on the sailboat. They also worry endlessly about what's going to happen to the couples' two young children, Finn and Chloe, now that their parents are gone. As the details come together and secrets are uncovered, the other couples must come to terms with the deaths of Tess and Greg.
I devoured and adored this book. From the very first page I was hooked. Told from the various characters perspectives, the story takes the reader through past events that lead up to the deaths and the aftermath. I loved how it unfolded with little tidbits of the mystery scattered throughout the memorizing storyline. It was a very quick read, but I took my time with it because I really didn't want to put it down and I certainly didn't want it to end.
The characters were varied, interesting and believable. I don't think I had a favourite, but I did like some more than others. After some reflection, I realized that I was more drawn towards the men in the book. Addison's anguish was palpable and the Chief (I really felt sorry for him) with his nearly unwavering stiff upper lip was admirable, but I just didn't warm up to Delilah that much. Maybe I didn't I understand her. I think I got a little bit better handle on Andrea, but again I didn't love her. It seemed to me that she thought she was entitled to grieve more than the others. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't like these two; I really did. I loved reading about them all.
If there's one thing that disappointed me (just a little) in this book, it was the ending. I love reading mysteries and got caught up in the mystery part of the story (What really happened to Tess and Greg?) Without giving too much away, I expected the mystery part to come to a round-'em-up-finger-pointing conclusion a la Jessica Fletcher (from the Murder, She Wrote TV series. Needless to say, it didn't. It wasn't that the ending was bad, it just didn't end like I thought it would. Maybe that's a good thing, eh?
The structure of the story very much reminded me of Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. The writing styles are different, but I think if you liked that book, you might like this one, too.
I'd definitely like to read another book by Elin Hilderbrand.
For more information regarding this book, please visit the Hachette Book Group website.