Elin Hilderbrand's summer reading picks

Adrian Liang on June 28, 2019

I was lucky enough to interview Elin Hilderbrand in 2017 about The Identicals, her novel about grown twin sisters who live on separate islands, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. She's exactly the sort of person you'd want to invite to a party—warm, laugh-out-loud funny, and generous—as well as whom you'd want to spend quality time with over a cup of coffee—thoughtful, and a straight-shooter.

Okay, that could be a lot of conclusions to jump to based on talking with a person for only 20 minutes, but I'm backed up by her dozens of books that shine a clear-eyed and empathetic light on the complexities of family relationships.

This year, Hilderbrand has released her first historical novel. She pulls readers into the past to a tumultuous year that will change the Levin family forever, even as they try to find refuge on Nantucket during the Summer of '69.

Who better to recommend books that should be your next summer read?

This summer I’m recommending three novels: one beachy, one somewhat beachy, and one NOT AT ALL beachy (but terrific nonetheless). —Elin Hilderbrand

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Beachy: The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

This novel, set on Block Island, follows three flawed but lovable characters—strangers at the beginning of the summer season whose paths cross in unexpected ways. I loved not only the drama here but also the luscious descriptions of a place I’ve never been. Block Island is now on my list to visit!

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Somewhat beachy: The Balcony by Jane Delury

Come for the premise: This novel is set in a French manor and tells the stories of its inhabitants over the course of generations—through Belle Époque to Nazi occupation to present day. Stay for the writing: Delury’s language is sumptuous and original. Loved this book!

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NOT AT ALL beachy (but terrific nonetheless): Severance by Ling Ma

In this dystopian novel, a young Asian woman who works for a Bible publisher watches as a flu decimates most of New York City. She takes off in a caravan with a bunch of strangers with a charismatic leader named Bob. Things get weird, and you will not be able to stop reading.

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