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The Five-Star Weekend


The Five-Star Weekend

New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s latest novel, THE FIVE-STAR WEEKEND, invites readers on a dreamy Nantucket sojourn filled with events and delights sure to break Instagram. But like most things on social media, not everything is what it seems.

Hollis Shaw, a popular lifestyle blogger and influencer, has had her perfect world shattered one snowy December morning when her husband, Matthew, is killed in a car accident. Despite their long, successful marriage and college-aged daughter, Caroline, their relationship had become strained. In fact, they had words right before he left for the airport and had his fatal crash, adding guilt to Hollis' overwhelming grief. And Caroline, always a daddy’s girl, has become even more distant and struggles to deal with his death in her own way. Hollis is so grateful to her supportive online community who provides her with a safe haven when she doesn’t want to burden her circle of society friends.

"The story packs a punch, with interesting characters and an engaging, unpredictable plot, all set on beautiful Nantucket."

About seven months after Matthew’s death, Hollis decides to throw a “Five-Star Weekend,” which she thinks will be just the thing to get her out of her doldrums and back into life. She will invite four friends from each important phase of her life --- childhood, college, her 30s and now mid-life --- to her home on Nantucket for an unforgettable weekend. Caroline, an aspiring filmmaker, will document it all for her lifestyle blog.

Hollis’ guests include Tatum McKenzie, her best friend from childhood who still lives on Nantucket, and her college roommate, Dru-Ann Jones. Her choice from her 30s and her life in Wellesley? That’s a tougher decision. She settles on Brooke Kirtley, a sweet but somewhat thirsty friend, who has proven her loyalty in the months after Matthew’s death. And from her life now, she will ask Gigi Ling, whom she has gotten to know via her blog. She has never met Gigi in person, but they’ve emailed and instant-messaged a great deal over the last few months.

Despite growing up on Nantucket with Hollis, Tatum couldn’t be more different from her glamorous childhood friend. Hollis has been described as “something of a unicorn.” She was born the only child of the island’s busiest plumbing contractor and a school teacher. Although she now has the air of money and privilege, her beginnings were humble. After her mother died when Hollis was young, she was raised by her father, who taught her how to fish and sail. She grew up in the family’s tiny cottage on Squam Road. This is the Hollis who Tatum knew and felt most comfortable with. While not familiar with this new, fabulous Hollis and unsure how to comfort her, perhaps Tatum can remind her of the life she left behind.

Dru-Ann is one tough cookie. She’s a no-nonsense sports agent from Chicago who met Hollis when they roomed together at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dru-Ann’s life is a bit of a mess right now. She was caught on tape saying something out of context about the mental health of one of her clients --- a clip that has gone viral --- and now finds herself mired in a public relations nightmare. Clients are deserting her by the minute; even the man she’s dating has ghosted her. And now she has to fly to Nantucket in July to spend the weekend with a bunch of women she barely knows. But maybe she can use this downtime to sort out her PR situation and get her career back on track.

Brooke is beyond thrilled to have received the invitation. She and her husband live near Hollis in Wellesley, and she has wondered what the inside of their Nantucket home looks like. Brooke has aspired to be as effortlessly glamorous as Hollis, but she always falls short. Along with too many Lilly Pulitzer outfits, she is bringing with her the knowledge that her husband is cheating on her --- again! Maybe a girls’ weekend at Hollis’ beachfront home is just what she needs to forget about her own troubles.

The wild card for the weekend is Gigi. Hollis knows almost nothing about her, yet she still felt the need to invite her to this exclusive weekend that will include incredible meals, outings and experiences. Gigi was there for Hollis when she needed someone, even if only virtually. But Gigi has more than a hostess gift with her this weekend. And with Hollis’ sullen daughter filming it all, what could possibly go wrong?

THE FIVE-STAR WEEKEND is a five-star read. (I know, I know, it was too easy!) Elin Hilderbrand is a bestselling author and a writing phenom for a reason. She knows how to deliver a satisfying, absorbing read --- and not just for the beach. The story packs a punch, with interesting characters and an engaging, unpredictable plot, all set on beautiful Nantucket. There has been talk of Hilderbrand retiring from writing beach reads in 2024. I, for one, hope she pushes that off for a long time. Throw this into your beach bag, your weekend bag or your carry-on, and get ready for a five-star weekend yourself.

Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on June 16, 2023

The Five-Star Weekend
by Elin Hilderbrand

  • Publication Date: June 13, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316258776
  • ISBN-13: 9780316258777