Book Review: The Identicals

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Pages: 414

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 8.7/10

About the author:

Let me start by saying I am obsessed with Elin Hilderbrand’s novels. Everyone has a go-to author for summer reads and for me it’s her. The setting is always Nantucket, MA, though her novel, The Island, takes place on Tuckernut Island, a small island off the coast. She writes about summertime on the beautiful, historic island (and recently published a winter series, which I also adore).

Her writing style is unique because, instead of using riveting plots, she creates depth in her characters. There’s always drama: affairs, pregnancies, death, bankruptcy, drugs, sex, divorce, etc. However, her books are page-turners because, as a reader, you fall in love with the characters, you become emotionally invested in their lives. Furthermore, she entwines past characters into her new novels.

The Identicals synopsis:

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The Idenicals is unique to Hilderbrand’s other novels because half of the story takes place on Martha’s Vineyard (another island off the coast of Massachusetts). Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are 11 miles apart, but very different from one another. The Vineyard is bigger, more diverse, and more commercialized.

The story is about Tabitha and Harper Frost, identical twins whose parents pulled a parent trap on them when they got divorced. Tabitha went to live with their haughty, fashion designer mother, Eleanor, on Nantucket and Harper went with their laid back, electrician father, Billy. The separation drove a stake between the twins and they haven’t spoken in 14 years.

The twins are brought together by unfortunate events this summer and, similar to the parent trap, basically switch lives. They hope that switching responsibilities might salvage their broken lives. Harper is left on Nantucket to deal with Tabitha’s sixteen year old troublesome daughter, Ainsley, and run Eleanor’s boutique. Tabitha is on Martha’s Vineyard to renovate Billy’s house and deal with the locals who, apparently, have ostracized Harper. The twins find that living each other’s lives isn’t as glamorous as they had pictured. They find love, devastation, life, death, and secrets.

The Review (no spoilers):

I devoured this story; I’m glad it’s rather long, I was able to savor it for a few days. Both Harper and Tabitha’s love lives are rocky but the drama in their lives runs much deeper. I couldn’t stop turning the pages in hopes that they would find happiness.

Ainsley, Tabitha’s sixteen year old daughter, was a very relatable character. Being young myself, high school horrors are still fresh in my memory. Ainsley’s experiences are fast, fun, and devastating. She’s knocked down and finds that friends, the ‘cool factor’, and popularity are not as important as she thought.

I also found Eleanor to be quite the humorous character. The seventy-one year old grandmother is a yankee WASP through and through. She is demanding, stuck up, and old-school. Grandmother’s quintessentially give unsolicited advice and Eleanor meets every bit of that description.

Hilderbrand stayed true to her reputation; the characters were relatable, charming and unique. I don’t know how she continues to produce such incredible novels that are so different from one another. Without a doubt, The Identicals will be in the best-sellers section of your bookstore or library so don’t hesitate to read it!

Personal story:

I LOVE Nantucket, my boyfriend and I visit every summer. We pack up the SUV with sandwiches, beers, prosecco, corn hole and sunscreen before we let some air out of the tires and drive through the sand right up to the shore. If I could afford it, I would spend the entire summer there happily. The cobble stone streets, rose covered cottages, amazing restaurants and temperate weather never get old for us. Excuse the cheesiness, but I swear we fall in love all over again when we visit.

Reading Hilderbrand’s novels bring me right back to the place I love most. Her characters are fictional, but the places she writes about are real. The restaurants, the baked goods, the cocktails, Steamboat pizza, Cisco brewery, the farmer’s market… everything is exactly as Hilderbrand depicts.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Nantucket, anyone can relate to Hilderbrand’s characters and fall in love with her writing. If you couldn’t tell already, I HIGHLY recommend this book as your next beach read (as well as all of her others).

Here are some pictures from past Nantucket adventures: 

 

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