The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
Expected Publication Date June 13, 2017, by Little, Brown and Company
Every year there are certain authors who are always on my beach reading list because their books have come to equate in my mind long vacations, cocktails by the pool, and lounging on a sandy beach. Elin Hilderbrand is one author whose books are always at the very top of that reading list! And I have to say that this year, she is at the top of her game with The Identicals. What a fantastic beach read—it’s fun, breezy, and the perfect escape!
The story takes place on both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, two islands that are very close in proximity, look so alike yet couldn’t be more different. I must say that I think it was brilliant how Hilderbrand begins her novel with associations, comparisons, and contrasts between the two islands, which sets the stage for the introduction to identical twins Tabitha and Harper, sisters who may look exactly alike but just like the two islands, the twin’s personalities are quite distinct and they themselves are completely at odds over past hurts, old memories, and feelings of betrayals.
Although Tabitha and Harper used to be inseparable while growing up, all that changed when they were 17 and their parents divorced. Unfairly, their parents literally tore the twins apart by making one twin live with Billy on Martha’s Vineyard and the other twin live with Eleanor on Nantucket. Since both twins wanted to live with their carefree, laidback father Billy and not their snobby, high class, high society, designer mother Eleanor, this decision is just the beginning of the twin’s growing animosity towards each other. An animosity that leads to a complete break in their relationship when tragedy hits 14 years previously.
The Identicals is primarily told from the perspectives of Harper, Tabitha, and Tabitha’s sixteen-year-old daughter Ainsley. Harper is quite laid back and appears to be floating through her life and through men with scandal and mayhem following in her wake. Tabitha is stuck-up, self-assured, and uptight. Tabitha also has no control over her daughter Ainsley who is a spoiled, disrespectful, and out of control brat.
The two sisters are forced to reunite when their father dies in the beginning in the book. Is Billy’s death the catalyst Tabitha and Harper need not only to work out the problems between each other but transform their unhappy lives?
Another family crisis strikes that forces each sister to switch places—Tabitha goes to Nantucket to handle problems with Billy’s house and Harper heads to the Vineyard to care for Ainsley and work in her mother’s boutique. The change in islands, the interactions and relationships Harper and Tabitha develops with new people, and the relationships that renew between the twins transforms and blossoms both twins into their best selves.
Hilderbrand writes a wonderful story of second chances, renewal, love, friendships, transformations, and family dynamics at their best and their worst. I highly recommend The Identicals. It’s the perfect summer read!
I want to thank NetGalley, Little, Brown and Company, and Elin Hilderbrand for providing me with an ARC of The Identicals to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.