Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Castaways

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Light Read, Modern Fiction
Type: 400
First Published: June 2010
First Line: "Because the accident occurred out on the water and not on the land that fell under his jurisdiction, it was unusual that the Chief was the first one to find out."

Synopsis: Tess and Greg MacAvoy live on Nantucket with their seven year old twins, Chloe and Finn.  On the surface life seems great for the couple as they approach their wedding anniversary but cracks have started to show in their marriage.  To get back on track the couple decides to sail away for the weekend to reconnect with each other.

Unfortunately their sail ends tragically leaving Chloe and Finn orphans.  The three couples that are Tess and Greg's closest friends are given the task of picking up the pieces in the aftermath of the accident.  As they grieve for their friends shocking secrets and betrayals are revealed.

My ThoughtsI've seen many books by this author (and have even been gifted a few of her books) but I've yet to actually read any of her work until recently.  I picked up this book because it received some pretty high ratings from readers.  Unfortunately, this book didn't impress me at all and left me wondering why my take on the book was so different from other readers.

I picked up this book hoping for a great summer/beach read.  Nothing too heavy.  A little murder mystery/tear jerker which includes seeing how the friends band together to help raise the two orphaned children.  Unfortunately what I got was a convoluted storyline that didn't seem to go anywhere.  This book was filled with six (clich├ęd) main characters who had secrets (very similar secrets at that) which weren't even all that interesting and only helped to make it harder to keep track of who was married to who.

One of the main issues that I had with this book is the excessive character building.  It's great to give the reader a little background of the characters so that they seem more realistic and relatable.  The problem here is that it is done ad nauseum.  Each of the six main characters shares their history which really bogged down the momentum of the storyline and took the focus away from, what I thought was, the main issue -- the death of the two friends and helping raise their twins.

Also, using the six point-of-views of the main characters to tell the story really hindered the mystery aspect.  If the reader knows what everyone is thinking it makes for not only a confusing read but how can the reader be surprised at the ending?  Why does the reader need to be inside each character's head? 

Random Question to Self: Why, oh why, have I been selecting so many books lately that have multiple POVs?!?

This book had a very Melrose Place vibe to it.  For a group of supposedly close knit friends they sure did have a lot of backstabbing and secrets from each other.   Maybe that's why I didn't feel like I connected with any of the characters.  I just didn't like or care for any of them and for the amount of back stories we were given on each character you'd think that that would help endear at least one to me.  Sadly, no.

Ok, so one couple is killed and leaves two small children behind.  Heart breaking, right?  What's even more sad is the fact that these poor orphaned children (as well as the other couples' kids) were left on their own by these 'seemingly' good parents.  The older children took up the childrearing reigns and got the job done while the parents were immersed in their lies and deceit.  It just made the adults look juvenile and didn't endear them to me at all.

Finally, there was also so much foreshadowing that there was literally no 'ta-da' moment at the end of this 'mystery'. It just kind of sputtered out at the end leaving me feeling a little jilted out of a good read.

NoteI'm starting to think that I'm becoming a little jaded when it comes to reading 'fun, light reads'.  After reading so MANY books over the years I think that my standard of a 'good read' has increased dramatically. I have no issues with a light read but it still has to have substance and keep my interest.

Would I recommend this book?  Only if you're a castaway on a deserted island and this is the only book available.

My Rating: 1/5 stars


Kim - Liv Life said...

Good to know!! I had this book in my hands, and your thoughts pretty much summed up what I thought it would be. Thank you!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Kim -- I'm so glad my review helped you. Sorry my response took so long. I'm still having computer problems. :(

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