Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

In Beautiful Day, Jenna and Stuart are getting married. Their families have gathered together on Nantucket this weekend to celebrate their union. The wedding details have been planned by the bride's late mother, Beth, who died years ago. She left behind a notebook with suggestions for her youngest daughter's wedding. While everyone gathers and prepares for the celebration, their hopes, fears and frustrations spill out and make them question love, faithfulness and commitment.

I really enjoyed this book. While most of the characters in the book were kind of miserable, despite the impending wedding, I found it enjoyable and accessible. Weddings aren't really my things, so to me the wedding and the preparations for it were secondary to the other happenings in the story.

I love that the story was told from just a few main characters: Margot, the bride's sister, Doug, the bride's father, and Ann, the groom's mother. There were other good minor characters in the book, but I really liked the main ones. Each of them had reasons to be unhappy on this weekend even though none of it had to do with the wedding itself. In general, I think I can more easily relate to those who are miserable or unhappy, rather than those who are upbeat and happy all the time. I tend to be more laid back and apathetic. It takes some effort (or caffeine) to get me in an upbeat mood. Perhaps misery really does love company.

The book also had some short "outtakes" scattered throughout the book. Mostly, they were brief comments from the minor characters as well as a few from the major characters. While they did fill in a few details of the story and gave further insight into the characters, I'm not sure they exactly fit with the rest of the book or why this information was presented in this way. They were short, though, so I'm not going to complain too much.

The book wouldn't be complete without excerpts from the Notebook, written by Jenna's late mother. She thought of every detail and laid them out for her daughter to follow. These entries were written in a casual style as if Beth was talking directly to Jenna. Having said above that weddings aren't my thing, I still think it's kind of wonderful that Beth wanted to be part of Jenna's big day even though she knew that she wouldn't be around to see it.

Favourite quotes:
It might not be a bad idea for her [Ellie] to learn now, at the tender age of six, that the world was a complicated place, that other people's minds could not be read, their emotions could not be predicted, that love was fleeting and capricious, that once you thought you'd figured everything out, something would happen to prove you wrong. Life was a mystery....

New words:
louche (page 169): disreputable
fascinator (page 302): a headpiece, a woman's alternative to a hat for formal attire.

I've read a number of other books by Hilderbrand and enjoyed each of them. Here are my reviews for: The Castaways, Summerland, and Silver Girl. I did have a couple of issues with some of the storylines, but that's probably just me being picky.

Highly recommended. I'm anxiously waiting for her next book while still hoping to read some of her backlist books that I have on my bookshelf.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit Hachette's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Hachette Book Group for this review copy.

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand, Readgan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group), ©2013. ISBN 9780316099783(Advance Reading Copy), 401p.

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