Friday, October 5, 2007

Review: Nantucket Nights

Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand
3 stars

Summary (from Booklist): Kayla, Antoinette, and Val are a trio whose unlikely friendship was formed 20 years ago when they each rented a room in the same house. Val and Kayla were fast friends, but, despite Kayla's persistence, Antoinette kept her distance--until one night when her desire for a midnight swim inaugurated an annual ritual and cemented their bond. On a remote point on the island of Nantucket, the three women spend one night each Labor Day weekend drinking champagne, eating lobster, skinny-dipping, and baring their souls. One of the secrets revealed during their twentieth get-together launches a chain of events that changes them all forever. Antoinette swims out to sea and never returns, and as they search for her, wondering if she is alive, a complex web of deceptions (both intentional and unintended) begins to unravel.

My thoughts: I chose this book because I'm quite fascinated by those New England islands. I went through quite an obsession with the Hamptons, but didn't know much about Nantucket (besides it being the home of the man in that limerick). The first page describes Kayla doing her Christmas shopping on Main Street I was instantly drawn in and wanted to visit Nantucket in the winter - charming little shops all handing out snacks, filled to the brim with Christmas cheer. I also enjoyed reading about the beaches and generally about island life.

The actual story is definitely soap opera-ish, but would make a good beach read (especially given the beachy setting). It dealt with women's friendships in a non-typical way - not a whole lot of loving support going on at all. Harsh, cynical Val tells Kayla that's because they couldn't handle being caring all year round - that's why they only share things with each other once a year. Val and Antoinette were supremely unlikeable and Kayla seemed quite naive at times (though I think she can be forgiven having faith in her friends, she didn't realize they were complete bitches). But even Kayla is far from blameless and she comes very close to ruining her marriage. The twists and turns kept me reading and most of the time I liked Kayla, but the lack of any human feeling in the other two was pretty off-putting.

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