February 5, 2020
Can you believe this is week five of The Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer~Author Edition Series? Today’s guest writer is someone I have been reading for years. New York Times best selling author, Elin Hilderbrand, has written into Mr. H. about one of her favorite books from the past decade. Elin is the author of 26 books and counting. Known as the Queen of summer reading, the majority of her books take place on the ever so charming island of Nantucket. Most recently though, two of her books (with a third waiting in the wing) take place in the Caribbean on the island of St. John. Family, friendship, love, loss, and so much more fill the pages of her stories. With books that never disappoint, Elin’s work will dazzle you.
Elin has been living on the island of Nantucket for over two decades. She is the mom to three teenagers and is an enthusiastic home cook. Though she lives full time on this tiny island off the coast of Cape Cod, MA, Elin has traveled on six continents. Her work ethic is supreme and her discipline simply can’t be measured (she exercises 3 hours every morning 😮) Since before I had my boys, her books have filled my summers with absolute joy.
For many years when my three boys were younger we would visit Nantucket for a week in the summer. I would save up my Elin Hilderbrand books (I called her “My Nantucket Author”) for that vacation each year. I escaped with her books under the sun sitting on Jetties Beach while my kiddos played in the sand. I would imagine her characters as I walked through town and frolicked around the island. The Blue Bistro is her book that hooked me. From there it just kept getting better and better. You can only imagine how excited I was when Elin said she would write a post for my blog. She is a wonderful author to work with and I can’t thank her enough for being a part of this series. Nantucket will always hold a special place in my heart……so will Elin Hilderbrand.
I hope you enjoy her post today!
P.S. Elin handwrites ALL of her books!!!!!!!!!! WOW……that is a lot of writing! My hand hurts thinking about it!
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
The best novel I’ve read in the past decade (yes, you read that correctly) and the one I’d love to recommend to you today is WHITE FUR by Jardine Libaire.
Let me start by telling you how many times I resisted reading this book. The cover is ugly. The title…well, let’s say, the idea of white fur of any kind gives me the shivers. I get my book recommendations from many of the same places that you do – magazines, Instagram and…my local independent bookseller. My friend Cristina at Mitchell’s Book Corner on Nantucket raved about this book and insisted I read it — and although Cristina and I always like the same books, I said no thank you (because of aforementioned: cover, title.) Then Cristina got desperate – she GAVE it to me for free when I was in the store buying other books. What could I do? I took it home.
October 2018…I went on my book tour for WINTER IN PARADISE. I would be away for nine days and as I am always reading, I packed books. I packed…THIN books (I travel with just a carry-on), and guess what? WHITE FUR is thin. It went into my suitcase.
WHITE FUR is a marvel. Simply put, it’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks love story. The prologue has a man lying in a motel bed in Wyoming and a woman pointing a sawed-off shotgun at him. What is going on? Well, we don’t find out until the end of the book. Chapter one immediately relocates us in New Haven, Connecticut in the mid-eighties. Elise Perez is living at just-above-poverty level with roommates right next door to Jamey Hyde, a junior at Yale. Elise and Jamey have a bit of a love-hate thing going on at first. He thinks she’s trashy, she thinks he’s a rich jerk (I’m watching my language here.)
But then, they hook up and things get HOT.
At first, both the reader (and the characters) think it’s just about sex. It surprises them (and us) when the relationship turns into something more. Once this happened, I was a complete goner. I fell in love with their love story, with Ms. Libaire’s gorgeous language, and with our two main characters. Although Elise comes from a meager background, she has so much grit, so much spirit and so much personal integrity that we know right away she’s better-off than Jamey. Jamey is from a phenomenally wealthy family. He’s set to inherit the family bank, we learn the outrageous story of his mother…the poor dude is saddled with sky-high expectations and for a while, it seems like he’s going to meet them.
But then, wow.
I can’t possibly say another word about the plot because I don’t want to ruin a thing. Please take my advice and get your hands on WHITE FUR. There is a lot of explicit sex (which is the most difficult thing to write about well) and vivid, unforgettable descriptions of New York City in the 1980s. I read the book because it was thin and fit in my carry-on suitcase and now it’s my number one recommendation. I hope that you love the book as much as I do. Wait until you find out how they end up in the Wyoming hotel room!!!
All my very best,
P.S. Be on the lookout…….I have two forthcoming books this year: 28 SUMMERS out June 16th and TROUBLES IN PARADISE out October 6th.