Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand. Three Winners for This One!

Elin Hilderbrand has written nine novels and they all feature Nantucket as the setting for the story. Sounds like an excellent idea for this time of the year. Summer is right around the corner and I am ready to dig into a good beach read--even though I have no plans to go to the beach, but I digress. Let's hit the blurb on the back of the book...

With rumors of infidelity straining Greg and Tess MacAvoy's marriage, the couple head out on their sailboat one early summer day to celebrate their wedding anniversary, hoping the roughest waters are behind them. But in an accident off Nantucket, they mysteriously drown, leaving behind two small children as well as the three couples who have long been their closest friends. Tragedy brings to the surface long-simmering conflicts and emotions, and the MacAvoys' six grieving friends find themselves unprepared for the revelation of secret upon secret as the struggle to answer the question: What happened to Greg and Tess?

This is the first novel I've read that has eight major characters, and the story is told from the alternating viewpoints of six of them: the three remaining couples. Initially, I had a bit of trouble keeping track of who was married to who. I finally solved this problem by writing a cheat sheet and jotting down the names of the couples so I could glance at it as I read. I didn't need this prop for long because as I got pulled into the story, it became easier to connect the right husband with the right wife.

This story touches on a number of intimate themes: The relationship of each husband and wife and all of the eight individual's connections with and between each other. It explores how far should a "platonic" friendship go between friends who are married--but not to each other. Can two men really be friends when the most intimate relationship they've had is with the same woman? Can that woman juggle a husband and former fiance and keep everyone happy, especially herself? How long should a man live in a sexless marriage before his patience and his love run out? And most importantly: How the heck did Greg and Tess die?!?  I had a number of possible murderers in mind and I dreaded the possibility I may be right. That was the question foremost on my mind as I raced through the pages, and race I did.

Hilderbrand is a skillful writer who seamlessly weaves complex and intricate plot points from multiple characters into a cohesive and heartfelt story. You really get to know these people--their fears, desires, loves and hates. You may even be one of them.

I'm not ashamed to say I shed a tear at the end...ahh...this thing called life...

There will be three winners chosen for this book. If you're interested in a chance to win one, become a follower if your not already and leave a comment about a great beach read-either one you've read or want to read. Please leave your email so you can be contacted in case you win. I  always tell you guys this, but invariably, someone doesn't do it. I try to track you down, but this is a busy time of year for me, so if you don't leave your email, I'm just going to select another winner.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada at the publishers request. No PO boxes.

Winners will be chosen randomly via RANDOM.ORG

My sincere thanks to Valerie Russo of the Hachette Book Group for making the books available.

Giveaway ends Monday, July 5th. 

One of the followers who entered this giveaway asked an important question: Are people disqualified who don't follow the directions? I've given this a lot of thought and I have to say, I can't consider the entries of those who don't follow the directions. It's not fair to those who make the effort to do so. I try to make my giveaways as simple and easy as possible. If I ask you to comment about something and you want the book, please post the comment. If you don't have a beach read, just say so. At least it shows you're mindful of the instructions and you're following the protocol. I don't want to leave anyone out, so don't make me. Let's be thoughtful and fair to each other. Thanks. I hope you understand my position.



  1. I'm a follower, count me in!

  2. Count me in too! I'm a follower!


  3. I don't have a fav beach read!! I would love to win this one, it sounds really good.

    I'm a follower.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  4. Please count me in. I'm a follower.

    stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

    A great beach read it See Jane Date by Melissa Senate.

  5. I am looking forward to this book. I have heard that it is really good! Please enter me.

    I do not have a fave beach read, as I NEVER go to the beach. I am allergic to the sun, and the beach is really no phone when you are wearing long pants and long sleeves!

    lovemykidsandbooks AT gmail DOT com

    I am curious....when people leave a comment to enter and do not follow the directions, such as not answering the question about fave beach read, is their entry disqualified? This may sound silly, but I am curious as I like to know what # my entry is, and if some are disqualified it will affect what # my entry! In this case I could be 5 or I could be 3??

  6. Please count me in. I follow you on GFC.

    Dont do beach reading (ever!!!) but anything historical/general fiction would be a good read for me and my favourite reading spot would be relaxing on a verandah just watching nature.


  7. Please add me as well! My favorite summer read is anything by Sophie Kinsella. Her books are light and fun and hilarious. Perfect for a warm sunny day or relaxation!

    clderwee at gmail dot com

  8. oh my, I just realized I made a big boo boo. I put phone instead of fun.

  9. Don't worry Marilu. I knew what you meant...LOL...

  10. I would love to win this book. Eight major characters...sounds exciting!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  11. I am an old follower via Google friend connect. Count me in for the giveaway.

    bookventuresbookclub AT gmail DOT com

  12. I follow. Great beach reads? Any book that is mass market sized (therefore cheap to replace if I lose it), and is written by someone I've heard of (so I've a good reason to know I'll like it) or has a really great picture on the cover and a fun blurb on the back. Or something I've heard of in the world of reading blogs.

    sdeeth at msn dot com

  13. A favorite beach read for me is Beaches.
    I am a follower of your blog via GFC.
    Thanks for the chance.
    caliblue7 at gmail dot com

  14. Already publicly following Writing is a Blessing with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}] -- I'd like to read True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes by Julie Cannon, but really I'd just like to be at the beach :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  15. Does the book have to be related to the beach? If so, I've been wanting to read the Beachcombers. A non-beach related book that I've been wanting to read when it comes out is Kiss Me Deadly which has short stories from various YA authors that are short enough to enjoy reading on the beach. I am a GFC follower.
    dakotasky55 AT gmail DOT com

  16. I don't have a favorite beach read!! I would love to win this one, it sounds really good.

    acouponaddict at charter dot net

  17. follow via GFC


  18. I follow via GFC & reader.
    Love & Hugs,

  19. I am looking forward to reading "The Lies We Told" by Diane Chamberlain. I am a follower!

    Thanks for the chance!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net


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