Elin Hilderbrand's stories share some reliable elements: infidelity, terminal illness, big secrets, gourmet food, family rifts, twins, teen pregnancy, addiction, untimely death, beaches, financial crimes, and disappearances, all set against the backdrop of tony Nantucket. Hilderbrand's novels may take place in a real place, but they are by no means set in reality, and thank god for that.
After clocking out from work and my other job—parenting a very active one-and-a-half-year-old—there is not much I'm capable of besides drinking approximately three beers, dreaming about a beautiful beach I'm not on, and longing for food I can't get. Reading Hilderbrand's books soothes me, and it feels more productive than staring at a wall, which I also recommend. I have no plans to reach for Dune or whatever anytime soon. Elin provides everything I need!
Her catalog has a book for everyone: There's one about rival twins who live on separate islands (The Identicals); another about drama at Nantucket's best restaurant (The Blue Bistro); a Ted Kennedy-inspired plot (Summer of '69); and a combination thwarted wedding/suspected murder page-turner (The Perfect Couple). A good entry point is the Ruth Madoff-inspired Silver Girl, which follows the story of Meredith Martin Delinn, who flees Manhattan for a friend's home on (obviously) Nantucket after her husband is revealed to have fleeced investors out of billions, all without her knowledge. Most of Hilderbrand's books take place in the summer, they all have satisfying yet improbable resolutions, and though they are certainly beach reads that don't require any high-level analysis, reading them doesn't feel like downing a bunch of junk food. That's exactly what makes them perfect for A Time Like This.