Friday Book Whimsy: The Hotel Nantucket.

Author Elin Hilderbrand is a prolific author, known for what is termed her “beach reads.” As much as I read, and as much as I enjoy a summer read, I have never read a book by this author. It won’t be the last one, because I enjoyed The Hotel Nantucket very much.

The Hotel Nantucket was once a well-respected hotel, known for entertaining the well-to-doers who habitat Nantucket Island in the summer. Unfortunately, the hotel suffered a serious fire in 1922 that killed a housekeeper, whose restless spirit wanders the hotel waiting for someone to discover the truth about the fire and putting her at peace.

Much like the hotel, Lizbeth Keaton has also suffered a setback, breaking up with her long-time fiance, with whom she ran a successful restaurant, after learning that he was involved with another woman. She leaves him and the restaurant behind. Lizbeth is delighted to be hired by billionaire Xavier Darling to run the completely remodeled Hotel Nantucket. Darling purchased the old hotel and spent millions bringing the it back to life. Everything about the hotel is perfect. The restaurant is run by a famous chef. The spa is magnificent. The rooms are sheer perfection with not a wrinkle or spot of dust to be found. The question is, can Lizbeth and her staff — all who have complicated histories and secrets — meet Darling’s goal: to receive a perfect score from the hotel critic who can make or break hotels? Thus far, no one has ever received a perfect score.

The hotel occupants have as many secrets as the staff. Shortly after the hotel opens, a mysterious woman and her two adorable children arrive, asking for a room for an unknown period of time. What’s more, she will pay cash, and money is no object.

The story is told from different vantage points, but it isn’t confusing at all. And the ghost of Grace, the housekeeper who died in the fire, isn’t a bit offputting. She’s merely an observer, and, while she plays a strong role in the story, it isn’t in any way a ghost story.

The Hotel Nantucket is a luscious novel that leaves the reading wishing they were rich enough to afford the thousand dollar rooms.

I loved this book.

Here is a link to the book.

Friday Book Whimsy: Malibu Rising

From its title, Malibu Rising sounds a bit like a beach read. I have nothing against beach reads, but I haven’t even been in the vicinity of a beach this summer. In fact, aside from a trip to Vermont, I mostly haven’t been outside of my back yard. Still, author Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote two of my favorite books of all time: Daisy Jones & the Six, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I was ready to give this book a try.

What I like best about this author is that she doesn’t tackle books in a traditional way. Daisy Jones & the Six is presented as an oral history, making it unique and extremely readable. I hoped for the best from Malibu Rising, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Every year, Nina and her siblings (Jay, Hud, and Kit) hold a summer-ending party. Nineteen eighty-three was no exception. Except this party changed many lives completely.

These four are the children of a famous singer who knows how to entertain but doesn’t know how to be a faithful husband or a good father. He leaves his family when the children are young. His wife tries her best, but sadness and the stress of raising four kids alone drives her to drink herself to death when Nina — the eldest — is only 16 years old. She reaches out to her father, but doesn’t hear back from him. She quits high school to take care of her siblings the best that she can.

While the bulk of the story takes place in a single day, flashbacks tell the story of how the four cope with their unusual family situation. Once she turns 18, Nina takes over the restaurant that her mother’s family always ran. Jay becomes a professional surfer, while the youngest — Kit — tries to figure out where she fits into the family.

They author’s description of the party are vivid and crazy. There are no invitations, if you hear about the party, you can come. Alcohol and drugs are plentiful. Famous people mix with blue-collar workers. Nina’s siblings look forward to the party every year. This year, Nina — in the midst of getting a divorce from her famous husband — is not as enthusiastic.

Normally back-and-forth stories are troublesome to me. I sometimes find them confusing. The author’s telling of this story is, however, seamless. The characters are interesting and realistic. Most important, though they could be obnoxious, they are likable. Well, at least the main characters are likable.

Malibu Rising is a story of survival and figuring out who you are amidst chaos and confusion. The ending was satisfying, except for the fact that I wasn’t ready to be done reading. Yes, it was that good.

Here is a link to the book.