Ayyeeeee! WE BACK YA’LL! I am THRILLED to inform you that monthly themed event known as Calendar Girls is finally back after going on hiatus in January of this year. If you are unfamiliar with Calendar Girls events each month, check out their info page here.
Melanie and Flavia are the original creators of this event, but in January, both creators explained that they had full plates and let us know that they would be putting CG on the back burner. In walks Katie from Never Not Reading, and we have our event back! Adrienne from Darque Dreamer Reads has also taken on the task and will be co-hosting CG with Katie! Thank you sooooo much to Katie and Adrienne for keeping this awesome and unique event alive!
As per Katie’s poll on Twitter, the first theme upon CG’s return is Dog Days of Summer: Best Novel Set in Summer.
Everyone loves a good summer themed book! There is nothing better (in my opinion) than reading outside in the sun (perhaps by a body of water) during the summertime. I am excited to present to you my ultimate summer read. Before we get to that pick though, I want to share some contenders that nearly stole the title, ‘Best Book Set in Summer’.
I mean, just look at those covers! If they don’t scream summer, I don’t know what else does…
and if you are really in the mood for beachy summer books, try anything by:
HOWEVER, my ultimate summer read I think has to go to:
A summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell: a family in upheaval after a cancelled wedding fill an island summer with heartache, laughter, and surprises.
Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess’s lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she’s cancelled her engagement.
It’s only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she’s embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store – a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.
But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known.
It was honestly a tough choice between The Island and We Were Liars. Truthfully, I remember more details from WWL, but can recall how I felt after The Island. I know that after reading The Island, I wanted to read more Elin Hilderbrand books and that kind of sticks to me, especially the fact that she writes almost exclusively books set during the summer.
This book (as well as virtually all her books) have the perfect summer setting; the wonderfully remote island of Nantucket. Hilderbrand herself lives there, which is most likely why she writes the settings of her books so vividly. I can relate to these settings because living and growing up on Long Island (NY), I also had the unique opportunity to experience true “island life” by taking the ferry to Fire Island every summer. Luckily for me, I have friends who own a house on Fire Island, and have a perpetually always open door during the summer. At least once a year, My fiance and I take a weekend trip to Fire Island, where it is truly unlike any other beach experience you may encounter. This experience really allowed me to connect to Hilderbrand’s characters on another level, because island life is truly something you cannot understand fully until you experience it.
What really sticks with me about this book though is that at the end of the particular copy I was reading, they had a “Discussion with Elin” and one of the questions they asked her was “why do you think women in general, and the women in this novel in particular, are so consumed by guilt over the failure of their relationships?” Elin responded “I think many women feel they are meant to nurture, and many times – lets just say – women end up “taking care” of their husbands as well as their children. — Women tend to feel guilty when they want things for themselves. Why? I don’t know, but it makes a great topic for fiction.” She answered perfectly, and in a way that really resonated with me. It stuck with me, long after I finished the book, and that is why I ended up picking The Island over We Were Liars.
Truthfully, I own, but have not read, two of Elin’s other books, The Identicals and her newest one, The Perfect Couple, and hope to get to at least one of them by the end of the summer. Fingers crossed.
I know I did not talk about the book as much as I may have talked about other choices, but I hope you enjoyed it, and I look forward to the conversations to come!
I am beyond thrilled that Calendar Girls has been brought back! Be sure to check out Katie and Adrienne’s CG posts for links to other participants (and maybe a future theme reveal?) as well as their picks for this month! You can find those posts here: