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The Castaways: A Novel Paperback – June 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the close-knit group of four successful Nantucket couples who call themselves the Castaways, Greg and Tess MacAvoy had what everybody wanted. Or so it seems to Delilah Drake, the voluptuous bon vivant Castaway married to staid farmer Jeffrey. But when Greg and Tess sail to Martha's Vineyard to celebrate their anniversary and mysteriously drown, their deaths stir up more secrets than there are tourists on the island's golden beaches. Hilderbrand (Barefoot) goes deep into each of the surviving Castaways' hearts, revealing old affairs and new entanglements. Was Greg involved with someone else? Was Tess going to leave Greg for Addison Wheeler, the rich Castaway married to the pill-popping Phoebe? Hilderbrand will reveal all, as well as plenty of other tidbits that aren't as interesting—including how long Delilah was in labor with her first son, the titles of songs that come on the radio at important moments and the lengths Addison went to get a stoned Phoebe to sleep with him. Readers of women's fiction who don't mind digressions should be satisfied with this tale of knotty relationships set against the lovely Nantucket backdrop. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'This book was a great read - you really care what happens to the characters. Perfect holiday reading. I didn't want to put it down' Candis on Barefoot A fun read Star on Barefoot 'Touching and uplifting' U Magazine on Barefoot '[A] beautifully written, emotional novel' Sainsbury's magazine on A Summer Affair 'A gem of a summer read with a glamorous location, elite lifestyle, and Hilderbrand's appealing take on the constant stress that fills the lives of women everywhere' Booklist on A Summer Affair --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1 Reprint edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316043907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316043908
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Last summer, I was privileged to read and review Ms. Hilderbrand's previous novel entitled A Summer Affair (you can read my review here (and I'm excited to tell you that an excerpt of my review was included in the paperback version that was released on June 1, 2009!!). In The Castaways, Ms. Hilderbrand seems to be sticking with her theme of disillusioned marriage partners seeking diversion outside the marriage (again with the affairs! I guess books about successful marriages wouldn't sell very well?). Regardless, I absolutely loved this book. And you will too. Far from a simple "beach read," The Castaways has a pretty involved plot with several well developed characters. And those characters are so interwoven throughout their lives you really need to pay attention to keep up. Ms. Hilderbrand keeps you guessing throughout the entire book by writing the chapters from the point of view of all the characters at different points in their lives - so often you are reading the same story but from a different perspective. In my humble opinion, this is a great way to flesh out the story lines AND the characters. And her writing is so vivid, the characters and the beautiful shores of Nantucket are brought to life. So if you are looking for a good book to read this summer that is not at all cut from the usual "beach read" mold, The Castaways is a must read for you.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By drey on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Who knew that dying would cause so much confusion? Consternation? Guilt? Pain--well, that's given. In any case, Greg & Tess MacAvoy's deaths while sailing to celebrate their 12th anniversary, definitely opens up a can of worms for their close-knit group of friends. Everyone has secrets. Everyone has regrets. Some more than others. Without giving the whole story away, The Castaways was a well-written and engrossing look into the lives of this close-knit group of friends, and how they deal with the loss of two of their own. Along the way, hidden secrets reluctantly come to light, and forgiveness lets the living carry on.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A. Howell on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have heard that this is a great beach read, but I'm not sure I agree. For me, this book is too deep, too sad to be a beach read (I like mine to be fluffy!) But this book is definitely a good one! It's gossipy and it kept me hooked! It told the life of four different couples through the eyes of six different people. There were lots of twists and turns and inter-mingling (is that a word?) between the couples. I thought I had the death of the MacAvoy's figured out but then something new would pop up. And it all wrapped up nicely in the end!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Kay on August 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't wait to read Hilderbrand's newest book because I've so enjoyed most of her previous ones, but THE CASTAWAYS was a big letdown. In fact, I quit reading it about halfway through. Reason? I couldn't stand these self-centered, selfish, thoroughly unlikable characters. I'm sorry, but what is admirable about people who try to solve their problems by cheating on their spouses with the spouses of their supposedly-greatest-friends? Hilderbrand seems like an intelligent woman. Enough already! Surely she can come up with more worthwhile people to write about and more worthwhile themes to explore. I'm tired of reading about people who can't be happy even though they live in one of the most beautiful places on earth in a country where (despite our problems) we are free and can pretty much accomplish anything if we work hard enough. I kept wanting to shake these people and say, why don't you count your blessings instead of whining and crying about poor pitiful you? With so much real misery and hardship in the world, who cares about these kinds of people? Frankly, they weren't even entertaining, although I will say that I did enjoy reading about the relationship between Phoebe and her twin. Sadly, because I dislike having to say this about a book, I would not recommend THE CASTAWAYS to anyone.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Deborah VINE VOICE on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever read a book where you're having trouble reading yet you keep trudging through hoping that the ending will make up for the rest of the story? This was such that book for me. This was the first book of Elin Hilderbrand's that I have read and unfortunately I just could not get into the book. I guess I had been expecting a beach read about a group of friends who were reminiscing about old times at the beach, sorta like The Big Chill.

Instead, it just felt like one huge soap opera from the get go. Everyone's having affairs with everyone. It was like you couldn't turn your head without someone passing off longing glances and secret looks at someone else's spouse. It's one thing to have drama in a book to create tension. It's another when the entire book is just one big drama between a bunch of grown ups who seemingly never grew up. Half the time I just wanted to take a character and shake them and tell them to snap out of their misery and self wallowing. Honestly, most of the drama that was created for the book could have been resolved almost instantly. It really bugs me when people marry and don't love each other from the get go.

There were only a few redeeming aspects of the book. The intrigue of the mystery of what happened to Greg and Tess was pretty much the only thing that kept me reading the book. Also the character of the Chief was the only person I actually liked and felt for in the story. He is the only one that seems to be rather sane and actually could be pitied. Everyone else in the book seemed to have a sob story that they kept milking.

I feel bad for not liking this book because it seems that everyone that's read it has enjoyed it. I suppose it is good escape reading and the setting of the book is appealing for a summer beach read.
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