Were you one of the many who read and loved Elin Hilderbrand’s latest novel, Summer of ’69, which has ensconced itself on Amazon Charts’ Most Read list for most of the summer? This was Hilderbrand’s first foray into historical fiction, and whether you lived through that era or are just fascinated by the summer that brought us the Apollo 11 landing and Woodstock, this book resonated with readers.
So if you’re a long-time fan of the author (I count myself in that camp), or just discovering her, below is a list of a few more books that you may like.
The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable
What to read if you loved the Kennedy cameo: In Summer of ’69, one of the main characters has an inside look into the car crash involving Senator Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne. The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is historical fiction that reimagines the affair between JFK and his alleged mistress Alicia Corning Clark, a Polish immigrant who landed in Hyannis Port (location of the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard ferries) and ended up in Hollywood. Readers will be enchanted by the atmosphere of the glamorous JFK era set against the Massachusetts beach town. The Summer I Met Jack is told from Corning Clark’s point of view, offering a fresh take on the Kennedys, as well as a peek into the lives of stars like Marilyn Monroe and Katharine Hepburn.
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
What to read if you loved the family drama: Whether you’re living during the summer of ’69 or the summer of ’19, family tensions are timeless. Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan is the sophomore novel by this talented writer, and it echoes the complicated family dynamics in Summer of ’69. Three generations of women in the Kelleher family descend on their family home in Maine, and each brings their own secrets. The devastating 1942 nightclub fire at the Cocoanut Grove is also documented in this book, bringing historical heft to an already weighty novel unafraid to tackle the strengths and weaknesses of blood relationships.
The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
What to read if you loved the writing: If Summer of ’69 was your first Elin Hilderbrand book, you have a wealth of treasures ahead of you, because the author has written 25 other novels — all of which (ahem) I’ve read. The Blue Bistro is my personal favorite of her older books. A tony restaurant on Nantucket (based on the real Galley Beach restaurant), the Blue Bistro ends up as the place of employment for Adrienne Dealey, a young woman who is working on the island for the summer. Luscious food descriptions — which Hilderbrand does so very well — mingle with kitchen politics and entitled restaurant regulars. Do not read this book without access to delicious snacks (and maybe a bottle of champagne).
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
What to read if you loved the historical fiction aspect: Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything kicks off with sisters Jo and Bethie Kaufman in 1951 and spans 65 years. The Kaufman sisters face issues so many women face: unwanted sexual advances, the loss of dreams and innocence, the tension between who you are and who you feel you should be. It may sound depressing, but it’s a beautifully researched and ambitious take on womanhood and sisterhood during a pivotal time in American history. What’s striking in Mrs. Everything is the same thing that’s striking about Summer of ’69 — the more things change, the more they stay the same.
A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer
What to read if you just want to pack up your life and move to Nantucket: Once you’ve read all of Hilderbrand’s books and have convinced yourself you should move to Nantucket and open a bakery, do two things in this order. 1. Read A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer. 2. Spend a winter on Nantucket. The first will only further convince you that this is your spirit home, but the second will not-so-gently remind you that island winters are not for the faint of heart…. Ever noticed that most novels take place during Nantucket summers? Blending together two families is also not for the faint of heart, as Thayer demonstrates in her novel about the Nantucket wedding of a widow with grown children. A Nantucket Wedding showcases the best of the island, and Thayer’s love letter to Nantucket will make you fall in love with the place all over again. In the summer, at least.
What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
What to read if you’re feeling lost without Summer of ’69: I think the mark of a great book is when you’re truly bummed out that it’s over. Lovers of Elin Hilderbrand will have to wait only a few months until they can grab her next novel, What Happens in Paradise, the second in a planned trilogy in her Paradise series. This book picks up where the last one left off, and while the beachy location is the Caribbean’s St. John and not Nantucket, it may be just the dose of vitamin D you need as we head into winter.
Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand
What to read if you haven’t read Summer of ’69: Give yourself a treat and allow summer to linger as you immerse yourself in Elin Hilderbrand’s historical novel.
This article was originally published in a slightly different form on Amazon Charts.
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