Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Beautiful

I love Elin Hilderbrand’s books. I love Nantucket, which is the setting for Elin Hilderbrand’s books, even though I have never been there and probably never will. I love her characters, even though they are not real. I loved feeling as if I were on a summer holiday at the beach while I was reading Beautiful Day, even though I was really on a Melbourne bound train at 6am in the morning, rugged up against chilly Autumn weather.

Beautiful Day is a lovely story, with a really likeable heroine, Margot. The story is told through the voices of Margot, her family and their friends in the days leading up to Margot’s sister Jenna’s wedding. I’m probably like most women, and really enjoy reading about the fuss and preparations for Jenna’s wedding without any of the headaches of a real wedding.

Margot’s life is complicated. There is a hunky hero hanging around, but there is a also a mysterious reason why she can’t get involved with him. To make matters worse, Margot is involved with a much older man, her father’s business partner, which is a big secret from her father and the rest of the world. Margot is a single mother with a high flying career, so guilt is her middle name, regardless of who she has a romance with.

The story is told by all of the characters in Beautiful Day. Some tell a whole chapter, while others just have an ‘Outtake,’ which might be anything from a few words or sentences, to whole paragraphs where the characters express their opinions. Some of the outtakes are hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud on the train as I read (which is one way to get a seat all to yourself on the train). For example, this one from the brother of the bride; “My sister has extremely hot friends.”

The other main voice in Beautiful Day is Margot and Jenna’s mother, Beth, who died long before Jenna met her Intelligent, Sensitive Groom-to-be, as Beth calls him in the set of instructions she has left behind for Jenna’s one day wedding in the form of a notebook. Jenna follows her mother’s instructions almost to the letter, which increasingly frustrates her father’s new wife.

Beth has planned for Jenna’s wedding to take place at the family holiday home on Nantucket, and has written her opinion on everything from the menu to the tent in the garden to the photographer in the notebook. Beth even makes a comment for Jenna to follow on the wedding night. In my opinion, if she were real, Beth would be far too involved in her adult children’s lives, but since she is dead, she has become a saint and her opinions are valued and honoured.

Everyone has a story in Beautiful Day, from Jenna’s best friend, who is a spoiled brat, to her father, who is unhappy in his new marriage, to the mother of the groom, who has invited her husband’s former wife to their son’s wedding. Some of the characters are happy, some are unhappy, some are smug and most of them make stupid, human, mistakes.

The location Nantucket, is almost another character, and of course, the beach is the place to be.

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