Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

I've long heard that Elin Hilderbrand is the quintessential summer author and based on The Perfect Couple, I have to say I'm in agreement with that sentiment.

The morning of Celeste Otis and Benji Winbury's wedding is one no one on Nantucket is likely to forget any time soon. Rather than nuptials and the sure to be grand celebration to follow, Celeste awakens to discover her maid of honor floating dead in the water.

The police are called, the wedding is cancelled, and everyone at the Winbury estate of Summerland is a suspect until the investigation proves otherwise. As the local chief tries to trace back the happenings of the previous evening the suspect list doesn't shorten. It seems everyone at the Otis-Winbury wedding has something to hide.

I've never read Elin Hilderbrand before, but I definitely will be reading more!

Not only is this a summer read, it's a Nantucket summer read. Even with a murder investigation underway - which is just the present day thread of the story - Hilderbrand manages to squeeze in a bevy of balmy beach days, lobster rolls, and perfectly mixed cocktails to give the reader the ultimate Nantucket feel. That atmosphere of course offers a bit of a jarring feel against a backdrop of a dead maid of honor, but in a way that understandably draws the reader into the story even further: How could anything bad happen in such a perfect paradise?

And of course that's the rub - it isn't a perfect paradise at all. The town itself is filled with locals just living their lives. The chief, raising his wife's twin niece and nephew after their own parents died (the subject of a previous book), the local head of security at the airport trying to get a date, the chief's nephew's girlfriend who just wants her boyfriend's adopted parents to like her... And yet, natives aside, Nantucket is the playground for the uber rich and fabulous like the Winbury family.

Celeste Otis is nothing like the Winburys. Their extravagant wealth and their ability to buy and spend however they please is not something she's ever known. Her own small but tight-knit family of three saved scrupulously for everything they have. And at the time of her wedding, her mother is dying of breast cancer. So she knows how much the wedding means to her parents and she wants them to have a good time. Which presents a problem because Celeste is no longer sure about anything in her life. And her mother suspects it.

As the story unfolds, readers are given an inside peek into various characters' perspectives both through their own narration as well as through the police questioning. There are multiple potential suspects, many potential motives, and so many places the story could go. Following along is the ultimate voyeuristic fun!

And while the mystery at the heart of The Perfect Couple - what happened to the maid of honor - certainly pulls the story along and at a fabulous pace, but it's the characters as a whole that take center stage here. I loved every second of my time between it's pages and look forward to returning to Hilderbrand's Nantucket very soon!

1 comment:

Kay said...

I have read a couple of Hilderbrand's books and I think this one is a bit of change-up for her. I don't recall a 'mystery'-type story. More of a family tale or friends and family. Anyway, I think I'd love this because I did like the 'summer' books I read of hers and then to add a 'nice murder' - yay!