Friday February 1, 2013
Summerland - the human connection
Review By REBA KOLETH
This complex tale of relationships and the effects of tragedy is one that everyone can relate to.
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books/ Little, Brown, 388 pages
RIVETING, exhilarating and breath-taking! Right from the beginning, Elin Hilderbrand captivates her readers with just enough emotion and excitement to have us turn pages at express speed.
Admittedly, when I first picked up the book, I wondered where it was all heading because, in the beginning, Hilderbrand only hints at the main plot. But she soon cleverly works the development of her characters and storyline into such a frenzy that we are left reeling by her revelations.
We are taken on a journey of emotions, ranging from sadness over a tragedy to curiosity about the the characters, and hope that the truth will be unveiled.
The storyline is catchy and contemporary, perfect for anyone who enjoys modern day drama with a hint of suspense as well as enough romance to spice things up.
Not many authors can get away with a plot based solely on complex relationships but Hilderbrand does so with ease, slipping from one character to another, giving only enough detail to keep us engaged and turning pages. Though it did make me feel like I was on a merry-go-round of information for a while as she touched on each character and place turn-by-turn, returning to the former and latter as and when she pleased.
As we start to piece the plot and characters together, we are left with a sense of intrigue and suspense: what actually happened on that fateful night when a car accident left one teenager dead, another in a coma, and two survivors in so much emotional pain that one moves to the other side of the world and the other grows up to become an addicted mess?
Hilderbrand allows us to explore all the possibilities without coming to a conclusion early on in the book. She keeps the suspense going until it finally peaks and we are left with a plausible answer.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this story is that it beats around the bush without being evasive. The facts are not hidden and Hilderbrand is not abrupt in describing each character. Rather, she leaves us with the impression that each character and each conversation plays an integral part in the storyline as a whole.
It is so refreshing the way Hilderbrand uses simple language to convey her messages about love and despair, grief and friendship. She talks about sadness without being morose and happiness without being sappy.
In other words, there is a certain kind of balance in her book that makes reading it enjoyable without straining disbelief. It is as real as it can get and deals with issues such as family dynamics, broken friendships and memories that are both touching and moving.
Hildrebrand writes in a way that we can relate to even though we might not share the same personalities and dispositions of her characters.
It’s amazing how we are able to identify with each person as he or she experiences hardships, sadness and heart-break. She brings out the “human-ness” in each of her characters so that the reader can connect with them to a certain degree. This, to me, is what makes the book a page-turner.
Two thumbs up for Hilderbrand for finding the extraordinary in an ordinary story with ordinary people. If her aim was to reach out to people and make an impact on their lives, then she does so flawlessly. She goes beyond just telling a story to penetrating the core of existence itself.