Great Summer Reads -July 2013
Nantucket’s LITERARY LADIES publish two new novels, just in time for BEACH READING
by: Lindsay Pykosz
When any three women come together under one roof, there’s bound to be some drama. But when three women in their 20s who have the same father and different mothers come together after their father dies, drama turns into jeal- ousy, resentment and eventually, acceptance.
In Thayer’s newest book “Island Girls,” Arden, Meg and Jenny travel to Nantucket to stay in their family vacation home. Their father’s dying wish was for his daughters to come together for a summer-long reunion and eventually inherit the house. Just when they start to get along, their mothers pay a visit, creating an unlikely and uncomfortable situation.
“I think so much comes from my own life and my own family, and I started thinking about this because I have a nine-years- younger, blue-eyed, blonde baby sister, and she was such a spoiled little brat,” Thayer said of her inspiration for the book.
“When she was little, I just tormented her and she tormented me and when I was in my 20s and she was in her teens, we just weren’t in touch. After we got older, we became closer and we started talking, and now we’re best friends. But we really had to talk through some stuff. Someone said, and I think this is a brilliant saying, ‘No two people have the same parents.’ And I feel like that was so true with my parents because nine years later, things were so different.”
After living on Nantucket for 28 years, and writing a number of best-sellers here, Thayer said she remains ever inspired by the “ec- centric and interesting” people on the island, adding, “I haven’t met a boring person yet.” For the people on and off the island who will be reading her new book, she hopes they’ll get a few laughs and dig deep into the relationships between mothers and daughters.
“At the very end, the mothers also come to the island and it becomes a perfect storm,” she said. “These three mothers were married to the same man and they had the three daughters, and I hope people will laugh. There’s a lot about reconciliation and there’s a lot about forgiving. There’s a lot about admitting when you’ve done something wrong, which I really hate to do.”
In Elin Hilderbrand’s 12th novel, “Beautiful Day,” the Carmichaels and the Grahams have come to Nantucket for a wedding that is being planned in accordance with wishes left behind by the bride’s late mother in a notebook. Inside is every detail for her youngest daughter’s special day. While everything might look perfect on the outside, in reality, it’s far from it.
“Basically, my novels fall into two categories: Novels about year-round people and novels about summer people. This is a novel about summer people,” Hilderbrand said. “The gist of the novel is that the mother died, she had cancer, and she wrote down everything in this notebook that she wanted to leave behind because she knew she wasn’t going to see her youngest daughter get married. She wrote down all the things for her wedding. The girls treat this notebook, and the father treats this notebook, like it’s the Bible. It’s a very important document.”
The novel is not so much about the wedding as it is about marriage, Hilderbrand said, as it focuses on everything from the best and worst marriages to the best and worst divorces, highlighting just how different every marriage is.
A novel about marriage has been on Hilderbrand’s mind for some time, but the challenge was writing a story that is different from all of the others that are out there, she said.
“The answer to that, for me, was figuring out the characters in the families and how they were going to interact,” she said. “You don’t want to have too many characters, and there are a lot of characters in this novel. But you try to make each different and interesting in the way that they interact.”
This year marks Hilderbrand’s 20th on Nantucket, an island that she is constantly inspired by, no matter what the season.
“This island has a dual personality, and being the mother of school-aged children, the year-round community is so, so important,” she said. “But I am also a person, that because of my career, who has been brought even more into the summer community.”
Lindsay Pykosz is a Nantucket native and a staff writer for The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket’s newspaper since 1821.