The Castaways – Elin Hilderbrand

What to expect:

They hadn’t known, then, what was coming. They didn’t know about September 11th, they didn’t know about miscarriages and love affairs, they didn’t know about a girl named April Peck. They didn’t know they were going to die. Back then, they had been happy.’ From the outside, the close-knit circle of friends calling themselves ‘the Castaways’ share an idyllic lifestyle on the charming island of Nantucket, blessed with money, children, beauty and love. But when Tess and Greg are killed in a tragic boating accident, orphaning their seven-year-old twins, it sends devastating shockwaves through the rest of the group. As the friends grieve, the truth behind their relationships gradually begins to emerge in a chain of staggering revelations. And for the first time they are forced to ask the hardest of questions. Can you live without the person who made you whole? And how do you mourn for a secret lover and a relationship nobody knew existed? An utterly absorbing novel exploring the tangle of secrets and lies that can lurk beneath even the closest of relationships …

Full disclosure: This is NOT a frothy read- but if you fancy something different, it’s gripping, and it’s a bargain (at current prices anyway). So, on with a mini-review.

The format works well, beginning with the accident, then offering chapters from the perspective of the other 6 castaways, in rotation. In this manner the story is gradually spilled with evenly paced revelations along the way. Events leading up to the accidents intermingle with the aftermath; cause and effect changing all the characters. The leads vary in age through their thirties and forties and greatly differ in personalities too, from the staid police chief to the young, kindly Tess. As we go along secrets are revealed- love triangles, temptation, loss, drug use, mental health, how can they get past all this and still be the group they used to be?

The threads intertwine beautifully and reveal more about the accident and more about who they all really are. It’s not hard to care about the characters, regardless of what they’ve done. It’s so well crafted and readable you’ll devour it in no time- although it’s longer than your average frothy read so something to get your teeth into. Lastly, the book also serves as an ode to Nantucket, which sounds like a lovely picturesque island.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 99p.

US: Amazon for $6.15, or $7.99 on kobobooks.