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Fiction Review – Beautiful Day

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)

I have read numerous books by Elin Hilderbrand and what I enjoy most is that she can transport me to Nantucket with her vivid descriptions.  Beautiful Day is no exception to this, but I don’t think the other areas of the novel delivered quite as I hoped.

The novel begins with a wedding invitation.  Jenna Carmichael and Stuart Graham are getting married in Nantucket.  Almost every detail of the wedding has come from The Notebook, a guide written by her mother Beth before her death to help Jenna with the planning of her wedding.  Margot, Jenna’s sister, is dealing her own problems and dreading the entire wedding weekend. She has been at her sister’s side and followed almost every direction in The Notebook.  Beth has given direction on flowers, colors, location, music, food…everything.  The pressure to have the wedding Beth envisioned is a pressure that has weighed heavily on Jenna, Margot, and their father Doug.  Friends and family descend on Nantucket, but The Notebook doesn’t include guidance on what to do when there are doubts and cold feet, thus the perfect summer wedding may now be called off.

In true Hilderbrand style, Nantucket and the Carmichael island home (even the tree in the backyard) are characters in this novel.  As Hilderbrand does best, her locations become characters themselves and the reader can almost feel the salty breezes.

I think my main issue with this book was The Notebook itself.  I understand that Hilderbrand wanted it to be an outpouring of love from mother to daughter, but to me it came off as overbearing and manipulative. The entries in The Notebook irritated me and, even with all the praise for Beth from other characters, came across as a power play with the impression that Jenna would be a disappointment to her mother if Jenna didn’t follow every word. This seemed to overshadow the entire novel since excerpts from The Notebook are dispersed throughout the novel.

I think Hilderbrand’s position as queen of the beach read is probably safe, but I hope her next book that I read leaves a better impression on me.  And I will read another of her novels, that is of no doubt. Hilderbrand offers a type of escapism that typically is very satisfying for me.  Even though Beautiful Day didn’t leave me with a beautiful feeling, I still recommend Hilderbrand’s novels.  If you’re interested, check out my review of Hilderbrand’s Winter Street previously posted in the PaperBackSwap.com Blog.




Dear Members,

Monday, May 17th, 2010

With Summer just around the corner, my thoughts go back to that time as a child, anticipating the joy of release from school.  Just knowing that we were not going to be on a schedule or that we had to go to school was enough to get me out of bed and raring to go!   May was all about the thrill of anticipation: soon, no more homework, no more studying for tests, just long summer days running around outside, riding bikes, playing with my friends – the anticipation of summer was as good as summer itself!

Had I known that summer vacation was a childhood phenomenon and that this would all come to a screeching halt as an adult, I would have certainly relished that time more intensely.  The good news is that  I can still find that wonderful feeling these days…whenever I open a book I’ve been eager to read.  The simple enjoyment of falling into a story; what’s better than that?   Whatever you’re seeking – a thrillride or a return to the innocent fun of childhood or a devious whodunit – it’s all just waiting for you between the covers of a  book!

Have a great month of May.   And a special Happy Mother’s Day to all of our Moms out there!

Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Team