Saturday, July 2, 2011

Book Report: Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand

Nantucket Nights, by Elin Hilderbrand, should probably be called something like "People Who Want to Go to Jail." Like Castaways, the other Hilderbrand book I recently read, Nights begins with the drowning of someone who's part of a close circle of friends. Well, at least we think she drowned. Kayla, Val, and Antoinette (the missing one) are part of the Night Swimmers club, which means that they meet at the beach every Labor Day at midnight to drink champagne, eat lobster, and swim naked, all of which I found more than a little disturbing. On this particular Labor Day, Antoinette dances into the ocean (she's a ballerina of a reclusive and suicidal bent) and never comes out, unlocking a veritable Pandora's box of secrets that - wait for it - tears the two survivors and their families apart.

All snarkiness aside, the story was pretty compelling, a real page turner. But the recklessness of the characters made me cringe. (Here's where the "People Who Want to Go to Jail" part comes in.) They destroy evidence, assault cops, trespass upon crime scenes, and incriminate each other during police interrogations. As someone who breaks out in a sweat at the mere sight of a police car behind me, I wanted them to knock it off before they'd have to wear orange jumpsuits for life.

As for the ending, it's strange yet not unexpected. It's also a little dissatisfying. Although I "got it," I felt that too many loose threads remained. But the book was still entertaining in a racy beach read sort of way, and I'll probably go on to read the rest of Hilderbrand's titles.

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