Friday, June 4, 2021

Book Review: 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand


By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of '69: Their secret love affair has lasted for decades -- but this could be the summer that changes everything.

When Mallory Blessing's son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he's not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It's the late spring of 2020 and Jake's wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flashback to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere -- through marriage, children, and Ursula's stratospheric political rise -- until Mallory learns she's dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives and the lives of the people they love.


Elin Hilderbrand's 28 Summers was a beach read I had leftover from last summer, I have several that I feel I need to read before I can justify filling my shelves with new ones. I love beach reads, but dang I am trying to be good !

28 Summers is basically a take of the old Alan Alda movie Same Time Next Year, which is a movie I really enjoy. If you are not old enough, you may know Mr. Alda from his role as Hawkeye from watching old Mash reruns, or maybe not. I am aging myself... let us move on.

I will also say this is the first novel I have read by Elin Hilderbrand and I did enjoy it. Her ability to describe the area of Nantucket was magical. You could feel the warm sunshine and the salty sea breeze, taste the rich food and smell the flowers, it was like being transported to the area. Maybe it is because the author lives in the area, but you still need the gift of words to describe the place so visibly.

BUT..there is always a but...
I had a problem with the narrative during parts of the book, mostly in the first part. She would almost seem to stop the story in random places and write as if a narrator took over.." our girl did this " " our boy felt this.." and then it went right back to normal and you carried on with the story.

The story alternated from the viewpoints of both Mallory and Jake the main characters of 28 Summers. I liked the backstories that each told and was interested in what they did during the other 52 weeks of the year when not together. However, I never really understood exactly why they only spent three days a year together, there just didn't seem to be a valid reason why they could not have gotten together at some point over these 28 years. I also felt that the time they were together was written in a rather vague and short way. Where was the passion? I don't mean sex scenes, I mean here are two people who for 28 years made this date NO MATTER WHAT and all they did was eat Chinese and watch movies??? It seemed more like a " friends with benefits " situation instead of a true connection.

So with all that being said, I really did enjoy Hilderbrand's descriptive writing, the story was just a bit flat for me. Maybe I read too much into it. Maybe I should have just taken it for what it was, no questions asked. Maybe it would have seemed to have been a better story for me ( I think it had great potential ). This certainly won't be my last Hilderbrand book, I have already ordered another book by her to give her a second chance, and if I don't like that story...well it was at least another great escape to Nantucket for a few days!


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