32. The Castaways: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand (2009)
On the picturesque island of Nantucket – just off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts – rumors always tend to flow fast and furious. In such a close-knit, yet isolated community, everybody soon gets to know everyone else’s business. For eight best friends – the Kapenashes, the MacAvoys, the Drakes, and the Wheelers – four prominent couples within their tiny community; secrets usually don’t stay secret for very long. And even the most innocuous of meetings can raise suspicions.
When the charming and talented music teacher, Greg MacAvoy, spends a rainy Sunday night with a beautiful high school senior named April Peck – the curiosity and rumors begin. Although Greg loves his wife Tess deeply, and has been happily married to her for over a decade; he just can’t seem to shake the speculative whispers of: ‘What happened between Greg MacAvoy and April Peck?’ The community rumor mill begins churning, and speculation is sent swarming around the island like tourists on Memorial Day.
With all the rumors floating around, the stress is beginning to show in the MacAvoy marriage. The troubled couple has begun experiencing an incredible amount of strain within their relationship – and all that strain has subsequently taken an enormous toll on Tess – who is dealing with her own issues. She is torn between her love for her husband and keeping a secret of her own.
With their twelfth wedding anniversary fast approaching, the MacAvoys decide to celebrate by spending some quality time on their sailboat. So the couple sets out on their anniversary trip to Martha’s Vineyard, hoping to rekindle the romance in their marriage – confident that the roughest waters are behind them. Yet, all of the MacAvoys’ dreams of a brighter future are soon dimmed by an inexplicable tragedy.
When the heartbreaking news eventually reaches the shores of Nantucket, the entire community is rocked to its very foundations. Greg and Tess have mysteriously drowned in a boating accident, leaving behind their two small children. Their closest friends – the Kapenashes, the Drakes, and the Wheelers – are absolutely devastated by the sudden loss of the MacAvoys.
For as long as anyone can remember, the four couples have done everything together. They have vacationed and celebrated together; confided in and depended on each other. However, tragedy tends to reveal both the best traits and the worst traits in people. Losing Greg and Tess so unexpectedly has reawakened long-simmering conflicts and brings deeply-buried emotions bubbling to the surface. The six friends, still reeling from their feelings of grief and denial, set out to answer the ultimate question: ‘What happened to Greg and Tess MacAvoy?’
A page-turning story of passion and suspense, The Castaways: A Novel is a poignant exploration of the boundaries of friendship and forgiveness. This is an extraordinary portrayal of love, loss and acceptance – playing out against the evocative backdrop of the summertime perfection of life spent on Nantucket. A masterful story which highlights so much of what makes Elin Hilderbrand a hallmark best-selling author.
I must say that I absolutely loved this book. In my opinion, this was such a well-written story; it was filled with a certain amount of suspense and mystery, as well as believable characters and a thoughtful, well-developed plot. This was just the type of story that I usually enjoy reading, and I will definitely be putting Ms. Hilderbrand’s name at the top of my wish list. I give this book an A+!
A+! – (95-100%)