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The Island: A Novel | [Elin Hilderbrand]

The Island: A Novel

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Summer, sand, salt water — does anyone do it better than Elin Hilderbrand? In her latest effort, The Island, the author again embraces that idealistic all-American scene with a story that manages to be both easy and breezy, yet heartbreaking and profound. It’s a tall order for a writer whose books — all which have taken place in the WASP-y enclave of Nantucket and its surrounding islands — bring to life the blonde, the beautiful, and the privileged.

The Island, whose setting is the remote private isle of Tuckernuck, is primarily a story of four women — Birdie Cousins, her daughters Chess and Tate, and Birdie’s sister, India. The women, of course, are all harboring dark secrets and rediscovering long-lost desires, and they agree to reunite at the family’s rustic compound after an absence of more than a dozen years. Over the course of a month — and plenty bottles of Sancerre — the women fight and reconnect, love and lose love. The impetus for the gathering is Chess, who’s recovering from both a broken engagement and the subsequent accidental death of her ex-fiance, but the Cousins gals all in turn come to face — and conquer — their own, less obvious demons.

This, as is much of the best so-called “summer beach reading”, is about women tapping into their empowerment. The book rotates among the perspectives of each woman, and narrator Denice Hicks is at her best when giving voice to Birdie, a perpetual people-pleaser and the most naive of the bunch. This is a wide-eyed matriarch whose continual surprise and shock at life’s event lends credence to Hick’s lilting, almost musical inflections. Hicks does falter, though, when she reads as the other characters, most notably the worldly and adventurous India, whose nascent affair with a younger woman comes across as disingenuous. At 15 hours, the book isn’t a quick listen, but in the end goes down just as smooth as the Cousins’ coveted Sancerre. —Jaime Buerger

Publisher's Summary

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement.

It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she's embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter, Tate, and her own sister, India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store - a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.

But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known. It's a summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell, filled with the heartache, laughter, and surprises that have made her best-selling novels as much a part of summer as a long afternoon on a sunny beach.

©2010 Elin Hilderbrand (P)2010 Hachette

What the Critics Say

"This never-never land portrait of the rich and randy will please those looking for a satisfying beach read." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (107 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (40)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (8)
Overall
3.8 (46 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (4)
Story
4.0 (44 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Christian Winter Park, FL, United States 08-04-10
    Christian Winter Park, FL, United States 08-04-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
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    0
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    "OMG this was the worst narrator!"

    I couldn't even get to the heart of the story - assuming there is one. The narrator was like listening Desperate Housewives narrator or someone who read stories to 2nd graders. I was hoping for a light beach read, and maybe would accomplish that in the book version, but just couldn't stomach listening to this woman "read to me" as if I were a 7.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Williamsburg, VA, United States 07-29-10
    Mary Williamsburg, VA, United States 07-29-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Couldn't relate to the women"

    I really disliked this book. I could not relate to any of the women. There was so much angst over so little. The narrotor's voice did not help at all. This is an author and narrator I will remember so I will never listen again.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Kingsburg, CA, United States 06-30-11
    Pamela Kingsburg, CA, United States 06-30-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    3
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    FOLLOWING
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    "Tunia"

    I am barely into this book but I can hardly stand to listen to the reader. She is so sing-songy in her delivery and pauses inappropriately and gushes over the wrong words. I wish I'd bought the book instead of the audible book. The book is fine but I don't think I can listen to 15 hours of Denise Hicks.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    River Lass Sonoma County, CA 03-15-11
    River Lass Sonoma County, CA 03-15-11 Member Since 2006

    JOY

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "annoying reader, boring story"

    sooo predictable and the reader is absolutely annoying. At first I thought if it were a different reader maybe it would be better, but probably not.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    08-07-10
    08-07-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Pretty good story, horrible reader"

    I love Elin HIlderbrand and this story was okay as far as her work goes, but this audio version of it was painful to listen to due to the sing-songy voice of the narrator with improper inflections and just a very annoying way of reading as if she were reading a picture book to a small child. Sadly, I think even a small child would find it annoying. I cringed all the way through it, listening to the end because of how much I paid for it and also wanting to know how the story turned out, but I will never listen to another book read by that reader.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa M. Vacchi 11-02-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    0
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    "Avoid this reader"

    The story is pleasant enough but I'm in the middle of it and I honestly don't think I can tolerate this reader's voice to finish it. I will avoid her from now on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Racine, WI, United States 10-12-10
    Kelly Racine, WI, United States 10-12-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    "couldn't connect"

    I liked the idea of the story. I'd love to stay at Tuckernuck Island. I did not like the charachters as people though, couldn't warm up to any of them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah Ebensburg, PA, United States 06-11-14
    Leah Ebensburg, PA, United States 06-11-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    30
    29
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    0
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    "Tuckernuck CAPTIVATES me! Family~Love"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely! It's an Island away from Nantucket..a place people live simply with no electricity, refrigerator~all is brought by Barrett each day food, ice, newspaper, mail. They love the simplicity of sharing with one another, reading, lying on the beach, cold showers..it's truly the life. Birdie however discovers one spot to use her cell phone a connection to Bill and to Grant!!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Island?

    I liked the togetherness and emotions each of the women were going through and how they were solving their life struggles. Birdie and India are sisters and Chess and Tate are Birdie's daughters. Each conquering life in different ways and yet bonding as a family. There is loved shared along with sibling arguments. All of this on a beautiful Tuckernuck Island! Everything is memorable! It captivates me at the beginning and through the entire audio I am immersed in each one of their lives and personalities. Elin Hilderbrand's books flow with life!! Each different but captivating!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked the bat scene; the sisters Chess and Tate were at such odds with each other; Tate hating her sister but when Chess has bats in the bedroom and screeches Tate is there to the rescue despite her own fears. It was a laugh out loud situation. So much has led up to this scene it's the ice breaker to sisterly love.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I could listen to Elin Hilderbrand's books everyone in one sitting. I have never read all of an author's books she is my first. She captures me at chapter one and though Nantucket is usually the scene is so unique I never get bored ever!


    Any additional comments?

    If you are one who wants to relax and feel you are on the Island and you like reading about real life problems this book is for you. I truly give it a 5 though I rarely give authors 5's. Enjoy!!! Life on Tuckernuck is GOOD!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caitlin Forestville, CA, United States 01-13-14
    Caitlin Forestville, CA, United States 01-13-14 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Trite"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This was perhaps the most trite book I've ever read. Predictable, shallow and juvenile. A total disappointment. The characters were amongst the most immature characters I've encountered. I only kept listening to it because "I'd paid for it". Avoid at all costs.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Elin Hilderbrand again?

    not a chance


    Would you be willing to try another one of Denice Hicks’s performances?

    perhaps


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not really


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sakjack Chicago, IL, United States 09-08-11
    Sakjack Chicago, IL, United States 09-08-11 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable as an audio book"

    This was my first book via audio. I'd startedthe book via kindle but forgot my kindle at home and needed to finish the book for a book club. The book is well written and an engrossing read. The narrator did an excellent job of conveying the emotions and sentiments of the four different main characters. The pacing was quite good. I was able to listen for hours on end and not lose interest, in fact I found it soothing and engaging. I actually liked listening as much as reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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