Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer means beach reads!

Over the past couple of days I read two of my favourite "summertime" authors.  Both of them write easy to read, engaging, and intelligent novels.

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
I have read most of Hilderbrand's Nantucket based books and I'd say this was one of her better ones.  The story centres on Dabney, a woman in her early 40s who is the face of Nantucket's Chamber of Commerce.  She is married to a Harvard economics professor, Box, who spends his weekdays in Boston and they have one daughter, Agnes, who lives in New York.  Dabney also has her quirks - she has a strange phobia which means she will not leave Nantucket unless her life depends on it (though she did do an undergraduate degree at Harvard) and she is a very successful matchmaker (she sees a pink, good, or green, bad, aura around all prospective couples).

Dabney's life is thrown into chaos when her high school sweetheart, and Agnes' biological father, Clendenin, returns to the island.  They have not been in contact with each other for over 25 years as Clen left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a foreign correspondent and Dabney's phobias did not allow her to follow him.  After he left she found out she was pregnant, and told him, but he did not return.  Box adopted Agnes and they did not tell her who her real father was until she was 16.

Agnes also returns to the island for the summer.  She is engaged to a much older, wealthy man who is very controlling.  She has also heard rumours he was abusive to his first wife and she is trying to figure out what to do.  Dabney of course saw the green aura around them and instead tries to push her toward a dental student who is working on Nantucket for the summer.

Clen's appearance makes Dabney physically ill - at least that what she thinks.  And we follow the characters for the course of a summer and fall to see how the various relationships resolve.

The One & Only by Emily Giffin
Shea is a 30 something woman who has never left her home town in Walker, Texas.  She is employed by the Walker University athletics department and has been obsessed with the Walker football team for her entire life.  She is dating a former Walker football player but is not terribly enthusiastic about him.  The story starts at the funeral of the mother of Shea's best friend Lucy.  Lucy's father also happens to be the Walker coach.  The funeral causes Shea to take stock of her life.

So the book follows her decision to pursue her dream of sports journalism, date Walker's only Heisman trophy winner and fall for Lucy's father.  There's not really much more to the story but the characters are generally likeable (except for the ones who are meant not to be) so I really wanted to find out what happened to all of them.  This is a well written, easy read for a lazy summer day.

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