Saturday 4 August 2012


Finished August 1
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand, read by Erin Bennett

This novel takes place over one summer, beginning with a warm June evening, graduation day for Nantucket High. As usual, there are a few parties, and one of them is on a beach. But leaving that party Penny Alistair drives her boyfriend Jake Randolph's jeep, with her twin brother Hobson (Hobby) in the back along with a friend Demeter Castle. Something was driving Penny to drive recklessly and the trip ended in a crash, with Penny dead and Hobby in a coma. Jake and Demeter were wearing their seatbelts and escaped injury.
Zoe, the single mother of Penny and Hobby is devastated. Zoe is an easy-going mother, often more like a friend to her children. She works as an private chef and a caterer and lives in a small house on the beach. Jake's parents Jordan and Ava have a marriage that has been growing apart, especially since the death of Jake's little brother from SIDS. Ava has immersed herself in sadness, a sadness that Penny was drawn to, spending more and more time lately with Ava. Jordan is the owner and editor of the local newspaper, a newspaper that has been in his family for generations. It is a big part of his life, and why he refuses to leave Nantucket, even though Ava has wanted to return to her native Perth, Australia for years.
This accident and its aftermath drive Jordan to pull Jake away from Nantucket, giving in to Ava's wish to return to Perth.
Demeter feels strongly about her role as outcast, overweight and with few friends. She wants badly to be part of the crowd, and particularly wanted to be close to the very popular Penny. What did she say to Penny that night on the beach, and did that lead to Penny's self-destructive actions. Demeter's parents, Al and Lynne, don't seem to see her issues for what they are and are only too happy to ignore signs of unhappiness. But things won't stay hidden, and Demeter's alcoholism eventually comes to light.
We see these stories from many points of view: Zoe's, Jake's, Jordan's, Demeter's, Ava's, Hobby's, and Lynne's. I liked this aspect, seeing how different views changed the story. Everyone has secrets, and sometimes the secrets affect the lives of those around them. An interesting story about a group of normal, flawed human beings and the emotions that drive them.


  1. I've read so many good reviews on this one. Thanks for yours.

  2. Yes, there was another good review in the August 4th Globe and Mail. A good summer read, as it says.