Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: The Castaways & Giveaway

Summary: Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life. -- Little, Brown & Co.

Every summer, I like to find books that allow me to escape from my normal day-to-day life. You know what I mean -- books that take me somewhere else. Whether it's a story that takes place in a new-to-me location or even if it's just a story that I can get caught up in, I love summer reading when I can just get away from it all. Well, I think I've found another ideal summer book. It's by an author with whom I'm starting to associate summer-time reading -- Elin Hilderbrand, and her latest book is THE CASTAWAYS.

Last summer, I read Ms. Hilderbrand's A SUMMER AFFAIR (click here to read my review and enter my three book giveaway) and I really liked it. I felt the same way about THE CASTAWAYS, although I think I might have enjoyed this book even more. One thing that really drew me into this book was the mystery aspect. And while the mystery angle definitely wasn't the heart of this novel (it was really a story about the remaining "Castaways" and how they were dealing with the death of their friends), I thought the author did a terrific job of incorporating it into this story. As I read this book, I kept wondering if the sailing accident wasn't really an accident at all , and I found myself developing suspicions about a few of the characters.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the fashion in which the book was told. Each of the six characters had their own separate chapters (written in third person) where the reader could learn their individual story. Naturally there were chapters that I enjoyed more just because I was more interested in certain characters' lives. I also liked how the author incorporated flashback scenes into the book as a way to give the reader the background on all of the characters. It definitely helped me to understand the actions and behavior of all of the characters, and I admit it probably gave me more compassion towards the ones that I didn't initially like at all. I thought the transitions between the present and the past were very smooth, and I had no problems following the story.

As I mentioned above, I thought the focus of this novel was really on how the death of Tess and Greg affected their family and friends. The characters is this book were so interesting to me -- probably because they were so complex; however, I found myself not really liking quite a few of them. As I type that, I'm not sure it came out quite right. All of the characters had redeeming traits, but they were also very human and thus very flawed. What I found so interesting was how Ms. Hilderbrand made these characters so incredibly real to me. I felt their pain and I rooted for them to find some contentment and happiness. (Having said that, I also wanted to just shake quite a few of them.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that these characters made me have strong feelings -- both good and bad -- and not all books have characters that can invoke those emotions in me.

Ms. Hilderbrand certainly has a way with bringing the island of Nantucket to life. In fact, I think Nantucket almost becomes another character in this story. Her descriptions of the island make me visualize it so clearly, and it really feels as if she has a true understanding of this area. Of course, it probably helps that she lives on Nantucket with her family. Besides her beautiful descriptions, Ms. Hilderbrand also has a terrific ability to tell a story. I was surprised by how quickly I became caught up in the lives of these characters; and I was extremely anxious to get to the end of the book -- not because I wanted to finish the book, but rather because I was dying to find some answers!

There is a fantastic website devoted to Elin Hilderbrand and Nantucket. It's a fun-filled community where you can learn more about Ms. Hilderbrand, discuss her books, talk about your summer plans, and lots of other things! There's even a special place for book clubs with discussion questions coming soon! You should definitely consider this novel for a summer book club read. Besides playing amateur psychologist and analyzing all the characters and their actions (or just gossiping about them!), there are also many serious themes in this book that are ripe for discussion such as addiction, adultery, depression, troubled marriages, guilt, redemption, and new beginnings. With this list of juicy topics, you can clearly see that this novel really is ideal for reading by a pool or at the beach!

And just in case you want to have a cocktail (or two) while reading THE CASTAWAYS, here's a link to a very book appropriate drink called a Surfsider. You could even make them for your next book club meeting!

The tour for THE CASTAWAYS is huge and will be running all week! Check out these other tour stops:

July 6
http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com/
http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/
http://mustreadfaster.blogspot.com/
http://www.foreigncircuslibrary.blogspot.com/
http://www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com/
http://aseaofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://ajourneyofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://thetometraveller.blogspot.com/
http://www.brimfulcuriosities.com/
http://carolsnotebook.wordpress.com/

July 7
http://booknaround.blogspot.com/
http://www.sheistoofondofbooks.com/
http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/
http://bfishreads.blogspot.com/
http://hiddenplace.wordpress.com/
http://www.bellasnovella.com/
http://www.acircleofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://booksandneedlepoint.blogspot.com/
http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
http://abookishmom.blogspot.com/
http://bermudaonion.wordpress.com/

July 8
http://debbiesworldofbooks.com/
http://www.reviewfromhere.com/
http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com
http://www.chickwithbooks.blogspot.com/
http://frommipov.blogspot.com/
http://luanne-abookwormsworld.blogspot.com/
http://booksiesblog.blogspot.com/
http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
http://cindyloveofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://jennsbookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://books-movies-chinesefood.blogspot.com/

July 9
http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/
http://thisbookforfree.com/
http://www.ultimatebookhound.blogspot.com/
http://redladysreadingroom-redlady.blogspot.com/
http://bookfoolery.blogspot.com/
http://www.linussblanket.com/
http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/
http://purplg8r-somanybooks.blogspot.com/
http://brainlair.blogspot.com/
http://danys-san.blogspot.com
http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/

July 10
http://www.myspace.com/darbyscloset
http://kayespenguinposts.blogspot.com/
http://imbookingit.wordpress.com/
http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/
http://www.morbid-romantic.net/
http://nisefunpages.blogspot.com/
http://tvandbookaddict.blogspot.com/
http://allisonsatticblog.blogspot.com/
http://wrightysreads.blogspot.com/
http://frugalplus.com/
http://www.mgpblog.com/

Thanks to Miriam from Hachette for organizing this book blog tour.

I just happen to have an extra copy of THE CASTAWAYS. If you'd like to enter this giveaway, please leave a comment with a valid e-mail address telling me why you want to read this book. To double or even triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This contest will be open until July 20th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. This giveaway is open to those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!

73 comments:

Marjorie said...

I am a subscriber and I think this book has a good review, so that is
why I would like to win it.
Thanks for this giveaway.

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me since I'm touring tomorrow. I agree with you about the characters in this book - they're all flawed, but all so real to me. Great review as always.

silverneon2000 said...

Well it sounds interesting and it makes you wonder what is going to happen next.

silverneon2000 at yahoo dot com

http://twitter.com/silverneon2000

follow and subscribe

Rebecca Cox said...

I need a great beach read and I love the story line of what happens to the couples that are left, what secrets are revealed.

I tweeted at ccqdesigns. and I am a follower.
rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

Kay Dew Shostak said...

Sounds like a great read. I'm so glad to have found your blog.

Pam said...

From the reviews I've read, it's obvious that this book isn't as light and fluffy as you may assume from the cover. It sounds like a great read though which sensitively examines the effect death has on the people who are left behind.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Debbie said...

Sound like a great read! Love trying new authors!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie said...

I follow via google reader
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Aimee said...

I am dying to read this book because it seems like a great beach read (and I find it's sometimes hard to find good beach mysteries). I also tweeted the contest. My e-mail is acirucci(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!

thekoolaidmom said...

This sounds like a good book for a Lostie. Has a bit of intrigue(was it really an accident?, flasbacks and individual characters' chapters (like each episode of LOST is usually about a particular person or couple).

I'd like to be entered to win a copy. My email is ibetnoonehasthisdamnid@yahoo.com

Gwendolyn B. said...

Wonderful review! I'm going to amend my post to include a link to your giveaway.

Julie said...

Great review! This looks like a perfect beach read...which I just so happen to be in need of!
Thanks for the giveaway.
Cheers,
julie.sherritt[at]gmail.com

MoziEsmé said...

I love stories of love and loyalty...

Melanie said...

I'd love to try this book. You gave a great review, and I've never read this author before. thanks for sharing.

scottsgal said...

I just finished a Summer Affair and enjoyed it so I'd love to read this one as well
msboatgal at aol.com

Miriam Parker said...

Great review! Psychoanalyzing these characters is the best part!!

nfmgirl said...

I like books that can stretch my emotions, and this sounds like one that could do it. Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I tweeted:
http://twitter.com/nfmgirl/status/2500583670

chey said...

I want to find out what else is going on! Sounds like things are not as strait-forward as they should be.
chey127 at hotmail dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, lady. I'm dropping in to let you know we still LOVE getting mail from you and posting about your fun stuff over at Win a Book. Thank you!!

Bridget said...

Hi! Just posted about this on Win A Book. No need to enter me.

MJ said...

I love "beach" stories. This one sounds great!

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

Jo-Jo said...

I just love stories that are themed around Island Life. Please enter me...
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

holdenj said...

I'd like to read it because of your great review. I like the idea of a summer book, and with a little mystery thrown in, sounds like a winner.

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks.

Lisa said...

Enter me, please. The review at A Sea of Books tipped me over the edge.

Holly said...

I'm in. This one looks like it could be good!

Allison said...

I've enjoyed all the books I read set in Nantucket. Weird but true! Please include me! Thanks
gotts567[at]hotmail[dot]com

throuthehaze said...

sounds like a great read!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Patti said...

Please enter me in your giveaway. I want to read this book because I have read so many good reviews and it souds like a good book.

budletsmom at yahoo dot com

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dixie said...

I want to read this book because the descriptions make me want to read more about the relationships of these couples.
southrngal(at)gmail(dot)com

Tara said...

Please enter me...more than anything right now I need a good book like Castaways to help me escape from the day to day blahs.

boomdier181(at)gmail(dot)com

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

No need to enter my name as I just read/reviewed the book.

I so agree with your thoughts on the characterizations - they were human with flaws like all of us; some I liked more than others, but those flashbacks really explained where they came from and who they were.

I haven't read Elin Hilderbrand's other novels, but I'm going to look at your reviews now, and expect to add them to my wish list for summer reading!

etirv said...

I am a sucker for books with excellent reviews like this one! Count me in!
delileh0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Diane La Rue said...

Thanks for your review. This book sounds like a fantastic juicy summer read. Please enter me to win.

laruediane2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

I tweeted too- @bookchickdi

Jo-Jo said...

I blogged about the contest here.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

photoquest said...

I am a subscriber and would love to win a copy of this book. I collect books in coastal locations and Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorites!!!!
photoquest(at)bellsouth(dot)net

dag888888 said...

This is something both teen and I can read and discuss!
dag888888[at]yahoo[dot]com

Anita Yancey said...

I would love to read this book, because I think it would be so interesting. Please enter me. Thanks for having this giveaway.

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Esme said...

I am not familiar with this book-your review did justice to both the author and the book.

thanks

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

Laura's Reviews said...

I am a follower and I think your review of the book was fantastic. It really makes me want to read it. Please enter me in your contest!

laarlt78 at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

The reviews of this book make it sound fascinating. I'd love to read it and try to figure out the mystery aspect of the intertwining relationships. Thanks so much.

Thanks. pamelashockley(AT)netscape(DOT)net

nfmgirl said...

I blogged it:
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/2009/07/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-07-11-09.html

CherylS22 said...

I'd like to read this book because I like to read about relationships that are complex. Also, this story seems to be a great summer read.

Thanks!
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

Belinda M said...

I would love to read this because it sounds like it would be a great book


Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at CoolCanucks.ca


bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com

Sue said...

This book is just screaming summer to me. I need to read it before it's over! Thanks for sharing~

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Sue W. said...

Right now I need a good summer read and this sounds like the perfect book. Just being able to laze around our lake home with a book is all I want.

roylsue(at)telpage(dot)net

Sue W. said...

I posted this giveaway on my blog at:

http://gourdcrafter.blogspot.com/

roylsue(at)telpage(dot)net

Sue W. said...

I twittered this giveaway. My tweet is kona15hilo

roylsue(at)telpage(dot)net

A Reader said...

This looks like a great summer read. Please enter me.
Thanks for the giveaway!

kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

A Reader said...

Posted under current giveaways here
http://metroreader.blogspot.com/

Alipet813 said...

Please enter me to win this book.

alipet813(at)yahoo(dot)com

Alipet813 said...

I have also tweeted about this

twitter Id: alipet813

I Heart Book Gossip said...

I've read greats reviews on this book, that is why I want to read it.

Count me in please.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Posted on sidebar.

http://juniperrbreeeze.blogspot.com/

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Tweeted.

@iheartbkgossip

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Dina said...

Great review - makes me want to read this book! aitmama (at) gmail (dot) com

Ashley Moreno said...

Sounds like a great read! I've just finished writing my first novel, and I could use a break--it'd be great to lose myself in someone else's fictional world for a while!

Julie said...

I would love to win! I am a follower & I put your giveaway on my blog, http://julyso4463.blogspot.com/ Thanks:)
julyso@grandecom DOT net

Esme said...

I would love to read this.

thanks

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

elaing8 said...

please enter me in the giveaway.I've read great reviews of this book and think it isi something I'd enjoy reading.

elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

Nicole said...

i have never read any books by this author, but I've heard great things. I'd enjoy reading this.

Anonymous said...

the cover and the title already have me interested..but also sounds like a really great read..

flower_child_23(at)hotmail(dot)com

sabina said...

would love to win if its open to Canadians as well

Beth said...

Sounds like a good read.

surprizelady@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I am down to the last 2 books in my TBR list so I would like to add this book to it. It seems like a good book based on the reviews.
JOYE
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

baggypants said...

I would love this book because I plan to have a leisurely August reading and knitting and sunning and this book looks like the perfect read!!

Ashley Moreno said...

Tweeted the giveaway last week, and blogged about it today!

Amy said...

I used to spend part of every summer in Nantucket with my family so that attracted me to the book. After I read some reviews I felt that this book is more than a light beach read and that intrigued me so, therefore, I'd love to read this book!

Amy
Aimala127@yahoo.com

Vera said...

I'd like to read this book because summer is almost over, and I'm yet to find a summer read that actually holds my interest for more than an hour!

vvperesk@gmail.com

Susan P. said...

I've read some of this author's books and they are an enjoyable read. I'd love to read this one.

Amanda said...

I've heard great things about this book. I would love to win!

agafford6@gmail.com

gahome2mom said...

The review sounds enticing. Thanks.

gahome2mom at gmail dot com