This wondrous confection of a new Nantucket novel from Hilderbrand takes a seasoned, wise look at the increasing power of women friendships as we age.
Hollis Shaw, a social media food influencer with a million followers of her lifestyle blog “Hungry with Hollis,” suddenly loses her husband in a car crash on his way to the airport. Things between them had been tense, and Hollis get thrown into an emotional tailspin ruminating on their last phone call and the impending failure of her marriage. After withdrawing into grief, she decides to decamp from her Wellesley home outside of Boston to her summer Nantucket getaway. To help herself heal, she decides to invite on significant friend from each phase of her life, along with her resentful, angry 22-year-old daughter whom she offers to pay to video the weekend for her blog. Hollis goes into mega-planning mode, conjuring up a Martha-Stewart style agenda from delicious food, gorgeous serving visuals, and had-to-get restaurant reservations. All that remains are her guests.
There’s Dru-Ann, Hollis’s roommate from college who’s now a mega-sports agent, but arrives to the island weekend in the midst of “cancel culture” with her entire career on the line based on a captured comment by her during a private conversation in a restaurant about the irresponsibility of one of her athletes that goes viral on social media. Tatum, Hollis’ estranged and former friend from high school who has stayed to live year-round on Nantucket, fearfully awaits the result of a breast biopsy. Tatum also is still reeling from Dru-Ann dissing her around Hollis’ wedding. Brooke, Hollis’ Wellesday friend from her 30’s while both were raising small children, struggles with hating her husband who faces the latest in a series of sexual harassment complaints and has lost his job. Gigi comes from Hollis’ blog community, and she’s struck up an intimate ongoing conversation with Hollis after the car accident. She also harbors an explosive secret.
Hilderbrand offers up elegantly nuanced social commentary about the current cultural infusion and the destructive power social media. She also delves deep into where each of these women find themselves in their lives, and what hurdles they need to surmount to both thrive and mature. As things during this perfectly planned weekend go off the rails, you find yourself thinking hard about your own lasting friendships and where you find yourself in your own life.
Thanks to Little Brown and Company as well as NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.