Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Silver Girl

Summary: Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing - because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.

Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie's had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can't offer complete escape, and they're plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie's brother Toby - Meredith's high school boyfriend - arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.

Set against the backdrop of a Nantucket summer, Elin Hilderbrand delivers a suspenseful story of the power of friendship, the pull of love, and the beauty of forgiveness. -- Reagan Arthur

It's now becoming a summer tradition for me to read an Elin Hilderbrand novel. Her books just scream summer beach/pool reading. The latest one of hers that I devoured while sitting with the kids at the swimming pool was SILVER GIRL. This novel definitely encompassed everything I've come to know and love about Ms. Hilderbrand's novels.

I have to tell you that I wasn't exactly expecting to love SILVER GIRL. I had recently read a just "okay" review in one of my go-to sources for book recommendations so I was a bit concerned that it wouldn't be as enjoyable as some of her other books. Had I not already been a big fan of Ms Hilderbrand's, then I might not have picked it up; however, that would have been a big mistake on my part. I enjoyed SILVER GIRL a great deal and it might even be one of my favorite Elin Hilderbrand books. (Of course, it is a Reagan Arthur book... and you know how I love that imprint!)

SILVER GIRL tells the story of two long-time friends, Meredith and Connie, who have been estranged for the past few years. When Meredith's husband goes to jail for cheating his investors out of billions of dollars (think Bernie Madoff), Meredith doesn't know where to turn -- she's broke, homeless, and hated by the public. Fortunately for her, Connie offers for Meredith to join her for the summer at her Nantucket beach house. Both women are reeling from events in their lives -- both present and past ones -- and they find that their friendship is certainly put to the test.

I was actually surprised by how much I liked SILVER GIRL, and I know I was in the mood for this type of book so you could say that I read it at the perfect time. I love how Ms. Hilderbrand sets her books at the beach and she always does a fantastic job of describing the beauty and tranquility of the small beach towns. SILVER GIRL was no exception -- I am dying to head to the beach for a relaxing vacation!

In addition to the gorgeous setting, I also really liked the characters of Meredith and Connie. Neither woman was perfect and totally likable, but rather, they were very human -- and with that comes a lot of flaws. I think I loved them, though, because they were so genuine to me; and I know it helped that these two women grew so much through the course of the story. Both women had experienced so much pain and loss in their lives and I guess since it didn't kill them, it made them stronger. I loved how they eventually were able to heal -- both personally as well as with their friendship, and it was so rewarding when the each realized what was important in their lives.

While many people tend to think of Elin Hilderbrand's books as beach reads (myself included), SILVER GIRLS actually dealt with some pretty heavy issues. Of course, the events in Meredith's life weren't exactly realistic for most of us -- she was beyond wealthy and then lost it all, she did experience some things that many women will understand. For example, her husband kept secrets from her, she didn't have contact with her sons, she had a falling out with her best friend, she was still hurting from a lost love, she felt as if everyone hated her, etc. In addition, I found Connie's issues to be very serious. She has lost her husband to cancer at a fairly young age, she was estranged from her daughter, and she had a bad relationship with alcohol. As I read this novel, I could actually relate to both of these women and feel their pain.

Like all of Elin Hilderbrand's novels, SILVER GIRL primarily deals with female relationships. I especially enjoyed how this book explored friendship and marriage. However, SILVER GIRL was also entertaining because it had a little intrigue too. There were a few different mini-mysteries in the novel (like where all of the money went and who was vandalizing Connie's beach house) that kept things interesting. In addition, there was definitely some sexiness and humor in the story to help even out all of the pain that Meredith and Connie were experiencing!

SILVER GIRL is absolutely ideal for a summer book club read. There is a reading guide available with nine thought-provoking questions. Some of the topics that you might explore include loss, grief, guilt, lost love, embarrassment, addiction, friendship, marriage, new beginnings, parent/child relationships, and forgiveness. SILVER GIRL also lends itself to a very fun meeting with beach-themed decorations as well as drinks and food!

If you are looking for a great beach book, but one that also deals with some serious issues, then I highly recommend SILVER GIRL.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel.

Note: SILVER GIRL counts toward the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge that I am co-hosting with Kathy/Bermudaonion. It's a very fun stress-free challenge and it's not too late to join!


bermudaonion said...

I'm really looking forward to this book, but plan to read it closer to the date of Elin's Book Your Lunch event.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I think there are quite a few "beach" reads that deal with heavy issues. I wonder what makes them beach reads? It's one of those things, it seems to me, one knows but can't articulate!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Sounds like it has quite a bit in common with Wendy Wax's "Ten Beach Road" which also dealt with heavy issues but still would count as a beach read. Females + beach + hunky men + margaritas = fun. No matter how you slice it.

Karlie said...

Maybe I should read this one and pretend I am at the beach :)

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I have this in my tbr stack. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. I like a beach read with some heft to it. It's the best of both worlds!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I plan to read this before the online book event with the author (off to check calendar ...) .... OK, that's Wed. 7/27, time to get reading!

Beth F said...

I featured this book with a guest post and now have the audio to listen to -- maybe next week! Can't wait to get to it.