It’s almost the end of August right now, so we needed to bask in the heat for a little longer and enjoy the feelings that summer brings along. Lucky for us, we found the best book to do this. Dubbed as the ‘perfect escapist summer read’, we couldn’t stop ourselves from reading Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand.
On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident. She ascends to the Beyond where she’s assigned to Martha, who grants her three ‘nudges’ to change the outcome of events on earth during one last summer.
Vivi is fifty-one (and in terrific shape with a stylish pixie cut). She’s a mother of three children – Willa, Carson and Leo. After her husband cheated on her and they went through a messy divorce, but Vivi is moving on.
Her writing career is really taking off – her forthcoming novel Golden Girl is her first book to receive a starred McQuaid Review. And Tanya Price of Great Morning USA is a fan and wants her on the show for an interview. Even if Golden Girl meant writing about the one thing she swore to keep a secret, Vivi is ready for this book to be the big one.
Willa – the eldest of Vivi’s children – is pregnant again (the fourth time in a year after three miscarriages) with her husband Rip. But Rip’s sister, Pamela, is unpleasant towards Willa and her family. Pamela is hoping for Rip and Willa to end their marriage. However, Pamela isn’t the only member of the Bridgeman family causing trouble for Vivi’s family – her son Peter hates Leo. They had a fight recently and they are yet to make up, something is clearly bubbling away under the surface here and they never really made up. And, to top it all off, Carson seems to have a weird and awkward response to the Bridgemans. Cruz, who lost his own mother when he was young is considered by Vivi to be her fourth child due to the close relationship between Leo and Cruz. But the relationship between the two boys has become strained, even resulting in them getting into a physical fight.
But everything in Vivi’s life comes to a halt when she tragically gets hit by a car and dies. Martha – Vivi’s “Person” – is assigned to support her in the afterlife. Because of the suddenness of Vivi’s death she is granted three nudges and 70 watching days. She gets to watch her family from afar until Labor Day and she can use her nudges to push her chosen events in a different direction for the lives of those still living.
The story is told from many different perspectives (Martha, Vivi, Rip, The Chief of Police, Willa, Amy, Leo, Carson, and even Nantucket), which helps the story progress and you can see the different viewpoints of the main characters.
Review – ★★★★✩
Golden Girl is like no other book I’ve read before. It’s got an interesting take on life after death, giving nudges to the deceased to influence the life of those living. It’s safe to say that Hilderbrand has some excellent ideas. And she’s got the talent to follow through with them.
The book’s setting on the beautiful Nantucket Island is a very prominent theme throughout, there’s even whole chapters from the viewpoint of the island’s community. You can really tell how much Hilderbrand loves her home! And we don’t blame her – it sounds like an amazing place to live. Much like the tourism impact that Vivi’s books had, we’d imagine that Hilderbrand’s books are the same. We’re definitely considering a trip there. In fact, we’ve already started packing our bags.
Looking at the storyline, Hilderbrand really builds up some tension in Golden Girl, leaving you with loads of questions you can’t wait to find out the answer too. Did Cruz have anything to do with Vivi’s accident? Will Willa have her baby? What’s going on with Carson and the Bridgeman family? What picture did Peter send to Leo and Cruz? What will Vivi use her nudges on? There are just so many things that you need to find out that you can’t put the book down.
The characters – even if sometimes they annoy you a little bit – are people you just can’t help but fall in love with. You really find yourself rooting for the characters, hoping that everything works out for them. They feel very human and real because Hilderbrand gives them flaws while still making them relatable. In it’s essence Golden Girl is a tender book about family and how no matter what happens, what flaws people have family is always there. Whilst you read this book you will really be hoping that everything comes together for this family, not implodes and falls apart as it seems to threaten to many times.
So, basically, Golden Girl is a wonderful summer novel that keeps you hooked right up until the last page. The characters and the storyline are really what completes this book and Hilderbrand is a very stellar writer. Overall, Golden Girl is a book that you really need to read!