I read my first Hilderbrand novel, Barefoot, in the summer of 2008. Anticipating and then reading her newest release has become one of my summer rituals.
These novels can be read on vacation or as vacation.
Hilderbrand's novels are satisfying stories with characters who are interesting, well-developed, and (often) likeable. The books are easy to read, but they aren't without substance. The main setting for every book is Nantucket; readers get a real sense of the island from the perspective of year-rounders and summer visitors. I find vacation reading all the better when the novel takes place in a vacation spot. Hilderbrand is a foodie so there are also tons of descriptions of food and drink.** Great meals are essential to any vacation I take so that's another attraction. Once you've read a few books, you'll recognize some mainstay characters who appear in all the books, which makes you feel like you really "know" Nantucket and its (fictional) residents.
The best news is that Hilderbrand has published sixteen books (and at least two e-stories) so if you find that you enjoy reading these novels on vacation or as vacation, you don't have to wait patiently for the next book. There are already many from which to choose.
I'd start with The Matchmaker, Beautiful Day, or The Castaways, but you actually could start anywhere. I think Hilderbrand's own favorite is The Blue Bistro. I've read these books in print and listened to several as audiobooks. Either format is great. You can read descriptions of all the titles at Hilderbrand's website. Your newest ticket to Nantucket is Here's to Us, available on June 14th. I'm still deciding if I will use an audible.com credit, get on the library hold list, or treat myself to the hardcover.
Once you start reading these books, you'll begin dreaming of a trip to Nantucket. To fuel that fire, I suggest following @ghinson on Instagram. He takes gorgeous photos of Nantucket scenes. How did I find his Instagram? Elin Hilderbrand's recommendation, of course.
If you don't know already, Hilderbrand is two books into a Christmas trilogy. If you have a few peaceful hours next November and December, cuddle up to the fire with those. The first is Winter Street, then Winter Stroll. The final book will be published in the Fall.
*the Nantucket scene, already framed and matted (a long time ago at Marshall Field's, according to the sticker on the back). was only $28.
**Sometimes the food descriptions are almost too much, but not to the point of being off-putting or anything!