Review: The Island

Why I picked it: I have read most of the books written by Elin Hilderbrand so imagine my excitement to find out that we are reading this book for the Manic Mommies Book Club (and discuss the book with the author).

Synopsis: From New York Times bestseller Elin Hilderbrand, a new novel set on Tuckernuck, a tiny island off the coast of Nantucket. Four women-a mother, her sister, two grown daughters-head to Tuckernuck for a retreat, hoping to escape their troubles. Intead, they find only drama, secrets, and life-changing revelations.

Type: Fiction, 416 pages, Hardcover

Quick Take: Highly Recommend - I loved this book.  Birdie's daughter, Chess, makes a life changing decision that has consequences no one could expect.  Birdie decides the best medicine is a month at the summer cottage where she will have time and seclusion to help her daughter heal.  Birdie's sister and her other daughter decide to join them and they realize they all need time to evaluate life and take time to strengthen family bonds.

Not only is it a perfect summer read but the story is well executed and I found myself invested in the characters.

I didn't want this book to end.

Source: Review copy

You can listen to our discussion by clicking on the green arrow below or by downloading the discussion (click on the recording on the right side of the MMBC page). The call has been edited to 40 minutes:

We are discussing the book online, click here to join the discussion.

Source: Review copy
Author Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself: I am Type A and completely overscheduled. I am married and have three children -- Maxx is 10, Dawson is 8 and Shelby is 4. I am a Little League mother; I spent all spring at games 4 nights a week and Saturdays, and my son Maxx made the All-Stars, meaning even more games and weekends away! My favorite things about summer are: the beach, my Jeep with the top off, cold champagne, corn on the cob, blueberry pie and flip-flops. (Note: baseball does not appear on this list.) I grew up in Philadelphia and I'm a huge Eagles fan. I jog 6-7 miles every morning. In the winters, because my husband manages a beach club that is closed, we pull our children out of school and take an exotic vacation. This past winter, we spent 6 weeks traveling through Vietnam. Next winter, we will go to Perth, Australia, which is my favorite place on earth. The two things I would really like to learn to do are: speak French and play the guitar. But who has the time???

What was it like getting your first novel published? It was a mixed bag. I was relieved to have sold it (to St. Martin's Press) but my advance was only $5000, so I could hardly quit my part time paralegal job. When the book came out, it was immediately chosen by People Magazine as Beach Book of the Week. And then St. Martin's immediately ran out of books. I actually didn't know anything about book sales at that point -- but oh, have I learned.

What is your writing schedule like? I write from 11-4 about 4 days a week in the summer. I have a live-in nanny who covers the children, God LOVE her! In the winter, I write at a remote location ( a friend's empty rental house in town) from 10-6. And when we are on our exotic vacations, I write six days a week while my husband covers the kids. I take one day off to snorkel or see the temples.

When you start writing, how much of the story do you have mapped out and how much is organic? I have certain things mapped out, but more than anyone might imagine is organic... as I'm writing, the process of discovery characters tell me what's going to happen next. It's mystical, but I try not to talk about it too much or even think about it, because I don't want it to go away.

What are you reading now? I just finished The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. It was utterly fabulous. It all came together at the end in a way that made the whole more than the sum of its parts. It felt like witchcraft.

If you could interview anyone, who would if be and why? What would you like to ask them? The only person I would really like to interview is my father, Robert Hilderbrand, who died in a plane crash when I was sixteen. And my question would be: Are you proud of me? (Tissue, please!)