Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Beautiful Day

Summary: The Carmichaels and the Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind The Notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event--but in reality, things are far from perfect.

While the couple-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their own lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise, and hearts will be broken and healed. Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a touching journey in BEAUTIFUL DAY--into the heart of marriage, what it means to be faithful, and how we choose to honor our commitments. -- Reagan Arthur Books 

Summer wouldn't seem like summer to me without reading a book by Elin Hilderbrand. Her latest novel, which of course takes place at a beach, is called BEAUTIFUL DAY; and I have to admit that I packed this one in my beach bag last week when our family visited the Outer Banks. BEAUTIFUL DAY is a great beach read, and I really enjoyed reading albeit under cloudy skies!

BEAUTIFUL DAY tells the story of the Carmichael and Graham families who are visiting Nantucket for the wedding of their daughter Jenna and their son Stuart. Jenna has prepared every last detail of her dream day according to The Notebook which was written by her mother in the months leading up to her death from cancer. However, even the best laid plans can go awry when family is involved. And that's exactly what happens in this novel!

Even though the couple is perfect for each other, the various family members' lives seem to be a mess. For example, the father of the bride is doubting his second marriage, the mother of the groom is trying to cope with her husband's ex-wife, and the bride's brother is hooking up with her best friend... who just happens to be married to someone else. Margot, the maid of honor and sister of the bride, is doing her best to just get through the weekend and make this day special for Jenna and Stuart.

BEAUTIFUL DAY is just sheer fun, but I'm happy to say that it also has some substance. The characters are interesting, as are their stories; and I quickly got caught up in their lives. In many ways, this book was like a juicy daytime drama -- and I mean that in the best way! While many parts of this book were fairly predictable, I didn't mind one bit because the story was so entertaining. Plus, I am a sucker for books about love and weddings!

Having said all that, I was pleasantly surprised by how well BEAUTIFUL DAY explored family dynamics and especially the institution of marriage. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say I thought the story or the characters were as "deep" as the ones in THE ENGAGEMENTS (which I just happened to review yesterday), but this novel did show many different aspects of love and commitment. And while I did find some of the messages about marriage to be a bit sad, I know in my heart that many of these themes are very real and will resonate with readers.

As is always the case with an Elin Hilderbrand novel, I love how well she brought the setting to life. In the case of BEAUTIFUL DAY, it was Nantucket; and can I just say that I'm dying to visit this place? I love how she described the houses, the beachfront, and even the restaurants.

BEAUTIFUL DAY would make a fun selection for a female book club... especially during the summer months. The book is a very quick read (which is definitely a plus for my friends during this time of year) and it's also entertaining. However, it's the themes of love, marriage, commitment, trust, and family which will generate the most discussion.

If you are looking for a beach book now or any time of the year, I highly recommend BEAUTIFUL DAY!

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


Beth F said...

I agree that Hilderbrand and summer go hand in hand. I still haven't gotten to this one. Maybe Labor Day weekend?

Sandy Nawrot said...

Her books are very predictable to me, but also they DO have some depth, which makes them perfect for beach or pool reading.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I think I'm ready for summer to be over so I probably don't want a summer book, LOL! This happens to me at Christmas too. If I don't read those holiday books before Christmas, they go back on the shelf for the next year!

bermudaonion said...

You're right about Hilderbrand novels and summer. I haven't read one yet this year - maybe that's why we really haven't had a summer. This sounds like another winner!

Alana Harvell said...

I have never read Hilderbrand, but I'm started to think about trying her books. Which one is your favorite?

Alison Skap said...

It's a rule - you must read Elin's books with your toes in the sand! We were at OBX last week too AND you and I were reading the same book! Crazy! I love her books...and I'm meeting her next week, so I'm thrilled that I read Beautiful Day at the right place, at the right time, with my toes in the sand. :)

Kim@Time2Read said...

I haven't read any of hers for a couple of years. Kinda ran out of summer this year. Maybe next year...

Julie P. said...


I don't know that I have a favorite. Why not start with BEAUTIFUL DAY?