The youngest of the Carmichaels, Jenna Carmichael, is getting married to Stuart Graham the love of her life on a beautiful day in Nantucket. With the assistance of her deceased mother’s instructions on her future nuptials passed on to her in the form of a notebook, Jenna, her older sister Margot, her father Doug, her two older brothers, the groom’s friends and family, and other invited guests all come together on the island of Nantucket for an indeed beautiful wedding set to take place in the house that the Carmichaels grew up in. Everything seemed to be falling in place for the beautiful event, but as the wedding day draws nearer, things become to appear far from perfect. Family drama comes to the surface and the inner conflicts and problems that the immediate families of the couple are facing pose a threat on the wedding. Although, the married couple to-be, Jenna and Stuart seem to be quite happy, their family members find their lives falling apart. In this gripping book, love will be questioned, commitments will be broken and tested, hearts will be broken, and difficult life decisions will be made. The very idea of marriage will be questioned.
The notebook, a Nantucket wedding, and a drama filled weekend. These three phrases sum up this book written by Elin Hilderbrand. The story line was beautifully depicted and the characters were outlined effortlessly, which just attests to the great writing skills of Hilderbrand. The book flows very well and it is quite easy to read. There are no over-complicated or over-simplified words used. Hilderbrand simply wrote a story and she takes you through that journey with the craft of writing. As previously mentioned, the storyline was depicted really well, several themes arose like marriage, love, commitment, family etc and they were all explored with as much realness as can be mustered for a fiction novel. Hilderbrand clearly delivered a believable storyline with very believable characters. The framed narratives depicted in the book make you question the institution of marriage and the varied commitments that exist in the world today. I thoroughly enjoyed how Hilderbrand was able to distinguish the marriages of Margot and Drum Sr., Doug and his second marriage to Pauline, as well as the marriage of Stuart’s parents, Anne and Jim. The marriages of these three couples were explored and it is depicted that although the institution of marriage and its rituals are universalized all over the world, every marriage is different and every marriage needs a different formula for it work. These depictions of marriages served to reiterate the idea of how perfect a wedding day or in the case of the book, a wedding weekend might be planned but the success or failure of a marriage is often not planned.
Overall, this is an incredibly honest book that touched upon very important themes in our society today. All the characters that were created in the book are all flawed in a believable way and Hilderbrand connects all their flaws and combined them to make for an incredible read. It’ll get you to think and re-think the institution of marriage and what it means to make a commitment to someone. Once again, it’s a very easy read for a perfect summer day and Hilderbrand’s rich and colourful depiction of food, weddings, and the island of Nantucket all make for an entertaining book.