Guest Author Elin Hilderbrand

What a day!!  Are you sitting down?  If not, you should, because I have a  very special, talented and amazing author visiting today as she kicks off her summer tour.  Plus some very nice giveaways.   Please help me in welcoming Ms. Elin Hilderbrand to the CMash blog!!!


Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.
Visit Ms. Hilderbrand on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. But what begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver of the car, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny’s boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt – but the emotional damage is overwhelming, and questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.

As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents – secrets kept, promises broken, hearts betrayed. Elin Hilderbrand explores the power of community, family, and honesty, and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow, new love can still take flight.
Read my review here.

Read an excerpt:

SUMMERLANDBy Elin HilderbrandExcerpt: Opening Section
Nantucket: The name of the island brought to mind rolling surf, cobblestone streets, the brickmansions of whaling captains, a battered Jeep Wrangler with a surfboard strapped to the rollbars. It brought to mind cocktail parties on undulating green lawns, investment bankerswearing faded red slacks and dock shoes without socks, a tow-headed little girl holding a grapepopsicle that dripped down the front of her seersucker dress. Nantucket: It was the land of wealth and privilege, a summer playground for those with a certain prep-school, old-money, I-used-to-row-with-him-on-the-Charles-type pedigree.So few outsiders (and by outsiders, we meant everyone from the casual daytripper from West
Bridgewater, to Monica “Muffy” Duncombe
-Cabot, who had been summering on the islandsince she was in utero in 1948) understood that Nantucket was a real place, populated by realpeople. Like anywhere else, we were home to doctors and taxi drivers and a police chief andplumbers and dishwashers and insurance agents. We were home to mechanics and physicaltherapists and schoolteachers and bartenders. That was the real Nantucket: the ministers andthe garbage collectors and the housewives and the crew who filled in the potholes on SurfsideRoad.Nantucket High School had a senior class of seventy-seven students graduating on Junefifteenth. This turned out to be one of the first balmy days of the year

warm enough to sit on
the football field and wish that you, like Garrick Murray’s grandmother, had worn a wide
-brimmed straw hat.Up on the podium stood Penelope Alistair. Although she was only a junior, Penny had beenasked to sing the national anthem. Hers was the voice of Nantucket, her tones so pure and
ethereal that she didn’t need any accompaniment. We mouthed the words
along with her, but
no one dared to sing out loud because no one wanted to hear any voice but Penny’s.

When Penny finished singing, there was a beat of thrumming silence, and then we all cheered.The seniors, sitting in neat rows on a makeshift stage behind the podium, whooped until thetassels on their caps shimmied.Penny sat down in the audience between her twin brother, Hobson Alistair, and her mother,
Zoe. Two chairs away sat Penny’s boyfriend, Jake Randolph, who had attended the ceremony
with his father, Jordan Randolph, publisher of the

Patrick Loom, valedictorian of the senior class, took the podium, and some of us felt tears prick
our eyes. Who among us didn’t remember Patrick Loom as a child, in his Boy Scout uniform,
collecting money in a mayonnaise jar for the victims of Hurricane Katrina? These were our kids,
Nantucket’s kids. This graduation, like other graduations, was part of our collective experience,
our collective success.Twenty- three of the seventy- seven graduating seniors had written a college essay entitled,
“What It’s Like Growing Up on an Island Thirty Miles Out to Sea.” These were kids who had
been born at the cottage hospital; they had sand running through their veins. They were on
intimate terms with Nor’e
asters and fog. They knew that north was marked by theCongregationalists, and south by the Unitarians. They lived in gray-shingled houses with whitetrim. They could distinguish bay scallops (small) from sea scallops (big). They had learned todrive on streets with no traffic lights, no off- ramps or on-ramps, no exits. They were safe fromaxe murderers and abductors and rapists and car thieves

as well as the more insidious evilsof fast food and Wal-Mart and adult bookstores and pawnshops and shooting ranges.Some of us worried about sending these kids out into the wider world. Most of the seniorswould go to college

Boston University or Holy Cross or, in Patrick Loom’s case, Georgetown—
but some would take a year off and ski in Stowe, and still others would remain on Nantucketand work, living lives not so different from those of their parents. We worried that thecelebration surrounding graduation weekend would lead our seniors to drink too much, haveunprotected sex, experiment with drugs, or fight with their parents because they wereeighteen, goddamn it, and they could do what they wanted. We worried they would wake upon Monday morning believing that the best years of their lives were behind them. The electricbuzz they felt on the first Friday night football game under the lights when they ran out onto

the field or led the crowd in cheering

those moments were gone forever. Next Septemberthe Nantucket Whalers would play again, the weather would be crisp again, the air would smelllike grilled hotdogs again, but there would be a new guard, and the seniors who were, as wewatched now, walking across the stage for their diplomas, would be old news.Alumnae.High school was over.There was a bittersweet element to June fifteenth, graduation day, and as we walked off thefield at the end of the ceremony, some of us said we would never forget this one in particular
because the weather had been the most spectacular, or because Patrick Loom’s speech had
been so poignant.It was true that we would always remember graduation that year, but not for these reasons.We would remember graduation that year because it was that night, the night of June fifteenth,that Penelope Alistair was killed.
the world cried out in disbelief. The world wanted the Nantucket that resided in theirimagination: the icy gin and tonic on the porch railing, the sails billowing in the wind, ripetomatoes nestled in the back of the farm truck. The world did not want a seventeen-year-oldgirl, dead, but the world needed to know what we knew: Nantucket was a real place.Where tragic things, sometimes, happened.



Giveaway copies are supplied and shipped to winners
via publisher, agent and/or author.  This blog hosts
the giveaway on behalf of the above.
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

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