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The Love Season Hardcover – May 30, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hilderbrand's fifth book is a fulfilling tale of familial excavation and self-exploration. Marguerite is a lonely chef on Nantucket Island who hasn't cooked for anyone since she sold her restaurant 14 years ago, following the death of her best friend Candace and her own brief stint in a psychiatric hospital. A quirky, endearingly insecure recluse, Marguerite is startled from her solitude by a late-night phone call from Renata Knox, whose question, "Aunt Daisy?" sends Marguerite scrambling to come to terms with her past. Nineteen-year-old Renata is Candace's daughter and Marguerite's estranged goddaughter, visiting the island with her wealthy fiancé. The novel takes place over the day Marguerite spends preparing a meal to welcome Renata, whose own problems include an overbearing mother-in-law-to-be and an incomplete sense of her own mother. Desperate for nurturing and guidance, Renata turns to Marguerite, the woman who knew her mother best—and whom Renata has been forbidden to see most of her life. The story is crafted as expertly as Marguerite's dishes, seasoned with well-measured flashbacks and convincing details of island life and the restaurant business. It's a refreshing, resonant summertime treat. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Despite her father's warning, Renata Knox wants to go to Nantucket with her new fiance to meet her godmother, Marguerite, who has been a mystery to her. Finally, she can visit the place where her parents met and fell in love--and where her mother died. Renata also experiences the superficial, upscale world of her fiance's family. Marguerite's solitary life is turned upside down. As the former restaurateur prepares for one of the most important dinners in her life, she reminisces about her flawed past and worries about what to tell the daughter of her beloved friend. Hilderbrand intertwines the separate discoveries of the two women as they examine what is important to them and consider who they want to please and what pleases them. Hilderbrand's sensitive portrayal of a young, motherless woman on a journey of self-discovery, and her guilt-ridden godmother's attempt to find the courage to confront the past, is very moving. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312322305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312322304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,431 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

Great characters, in depth story line.
Nancy Ferraro
The flashbacks keep the book interesting, but overall I felt like too much of the plot was given away too early in the book.
D. Kangas
Each time I finish reading one of Hilderbrand's books, I find myself eagerly anticipating the next one.
Christine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By E Anderson on June 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I do love Elin Hilderbrand's books and can never wait for the next to come out, but this book didn't quite live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong, it was a spellbinding story, but a little too depressing. It reminded quite a bit of the Blue Bistro; taking place, through memory, in a popular, exclusive restaurant in Nantucket. The main character is the eccentric chef, Marguerite, who was lured to the island by her lover, Porter, while working in Paris. Marguerite beomes best friends, and a bit obsessed, with Porter's much younger sister, Candace. The story is reminiscent through a 60 year old, lonely and reclusive Marguerite and eyes of the late Candace's 19 year old Daughter, Renata, when Renata visits the island for the first time in years with her new fiancé, Cade. Within the length of a day, both Renta and Marguerite go through channels of emotions that change their lives forever and tell the story of the death of Renata's mother and how Marguerite got to live the life she now lives alone. The two meet for the first time in 15 years to share the story. It's very well written and keeps you wanting more, it's just a little more depressing than the other books by Hilderbrand.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Andrews on June 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Elin Hilderbrand's work is hard to characterize, but it's impossible to forget. Her descriptions of island life from the perspective of both visitor and local are evocative and perfect for vacation reading (or reading that makes you feel like you're on vacation) but her characters have very true-to-life motivations and believable histories that would hold up in any setting.

As Hilderbrand's fifth novel, The Love Season builds on her previous achievement in The Blue Bistro, but differs from the wider sweep of her earlier efforts with its tight, even claustrophobic construction. The events of the The Love Season unfold during one day, as reclusive chef Marguerite prepares an elaborate meal for her teenage goddaughter Renata. While Marguerite reflects on her past, Renata races forward, bringing her own relationship to a crisis point that can only be resolved by revealing long-hidden secrets.

While Renata and Marguerite use the jewel-like island setting as an escape, the truth comes to the surface, like buried wreckage on a beach. The Love Season is a mature, fascinating, and thoroughly satisfying story with an ending that left me stunned and thoughtful.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By starlight on August 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Elin Hildebrand's latest entry is a complex, haunting novel that centers on the various themes of love that manifest throughout life. Romantic love, friendships, and sexual relationships are explored through the eyes of two main characters, Marguerite and Renata. Marguerite's life is told in flashbacks that cover decades, while Renata's story evolves over the course of 24 hours. Both women encounter love in its many forms, and as their lives intersect at the end of the day to resolve unanswered questions about the past, the reader is propelled to the climax. Never sappy, this novel is truly a pleasure.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The principal action of Elin Hildebrand's The Love Season takes place over the course of a single day (August 19, 2006): 63-year-old Marguerite Beale prepares an elaborate dinner for her goddaughter, Renata Knox, whom Marguerite has not seen since Renata's mother Candace was hit and killed by a car 14 years earlier. Marguerite is a professional chef, and is renowned in Nantucket circles for the quirkiness and culinary excellence of her one-time restaurant, Les Parapluies, but Renata's visit marks the first time she has cooked for anyone--indeed, that she has received anyone into her home--since Candace's death. The mystery of that event, how it came to have such an effect on Marguerite, is slowly revealed to the reader as Marguerite, emerging from her self-imposed exile in order to gather ingredients for dinner, allows herself to remember.

Hilderbrand tells her story primarily from the points of view of Marguerite and Renata. Through Marguerite's eyes we see her part-time, years-long affair with Porter, her friendship with Porter's sister Candace, and the uncomfortable threesome that formed when, inevitably, Candace allowed one of her many would-be suitors to win her. The pattern that emerges--an intense friendship between women intruded upon by a male--is to a degree repeated in the second generation: Renata sometimes feels torn between her best friend, Action, and her boyfriend Cade, recently turned her fiancé, the very proper son of Nantucket aristocracy. Renata is in Nantucket officially to meet her future in-laws, but her real purpose is to meet the mysterious godmother who's sent her cards and checks over the years, but whom she's never been allowed to meet.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christine on June 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I cannot put my finger on exactly what I love so much about Elin Hilderbrand's writing style, but I do know that she is the only author I have read that consistently mesmorizes me with her stories. She is also the only author who intrigues me so much to make me want to write a review on amazon.

Each time I finish reading one of Hilderbrand's books, I find myself eagerly anticipating the next one. She has never failed to disappoint me. I also find that each book is even better than the prior one. This book, "The Love Season" is no exception. It is an enchanting, beautiful story that I couldn't put down....although I feel that way about all of Elin Hilderbrand's books.

Each of Elin's stories takes place in Nantucket, which is a place I have never been. After reading her captivating descriptions of that island, however, I am determined to visit sometime. She also inspired me to decorate our Christmas tree all in seashell and lighthouse ornaments.

I have been trying to diet for the past few weeks, but I found it impossible to do so while reading "The Love Season" (and, while we're at it, "The Blue Bistro"). Elin's descriptions of the food that Margaritte prepares are so vivid that I could practically smell and see the food sitting in front of me. I am assuming that Elin must've worked in the restaurant business at one time in order to write about entrees and restaurant life the way she does.

I have one complaint. I feel that the first three books by Elin Hilderbrand ("Summer People", "Nantucket Nights" and "The Beach Club") should've had either different titles or different cover art, or possibly both. On the shelf at the bookstore, these books look like they're generic romance novels...but they are SO much better than that.
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