If you haven’t read one of her books, you have definitely seen them on the shelf of your favorite beach holiday spot. Usually well-thumbed and filled with the occasional spot of beach sand.
Elin Hilderbrand is a master at creating the perfect “beach read”, a style of story that sizzles with sunshine, sand, and intrepid romance. With 22 bestsellers, it is an undisputed fact that she will woo you with her stories of summer flings and love triangles.
Whether you are on the beach or snowed in at home, Elin’s books will transport you to Nantucket. Here you will become familiar with the rhythm of small-town living and the cadence of seaside life. She will seduce you with stories of love lost and found and present a sumptuous feast of the Nantucket culinary scene.
Her books are everything you want in a novel, offering an escape from daily life and genuine human connections. Her books resonate with readers because they are relatable, diving into the messy waters of relationships.
Whether you are a seasoned Hilderbrand reader or new to her special brand of magic, this list of the 15 best Elin Hilderbrand books will have you rushing to the nearest book store with your credit card.
1. 28 Summers
An enduring love that transcends time, distance, and difficult life circumstances, this story will make you believe in true love.
When Link Blessing is asked to phone the number in an envelope hidden on a desk, he can’t refuse his dying mother. If the request wasn’t mysterious enough, Link is surprised to hear Jake McCloud on the other end of the phone.
With Jake’s wife running for president and Mallory dying, the circumstances could not be more complicated. Link is left to uncover the history between Mallory and Jake, one that has endured for 28 Summers.
Through marriage, kids, and jobs, their bond is tested but their yearly rendezvous is the stuff of love story legends.
2. Golden Girl
The poignant reminder that the people we have loved and lost live on in our memories is beautifully portrayed in this novel.
Filled with Hilderbrand’s usual serving of sand and snacks, Golden Girl tells the story of Vivian Howe and her family after her unexpected death. Watching from the Beyond, Vivi is allowed three ‘nudges’, as she tries to guide her 3 children as they cope with life without her.
When family secrets are revealed, Vivi realizes that she has to let go and allow her kids to make their own mistakes while also dealing with the mistakes she made in her past.
3. Winter in Paradise
Love and mystery in the tropics, what a winning combination in a holiday read!
Irene Steele is living the dream with a beautiful house, sons, and a husband that adores her. But on a snowy New Years’ Eve, she receives news that will shatter her life and everything she believes in.
On the sunny island of St. John, she learns about the double life her husband led. Along with her sons, she unravels the intrigue of her husbands’ secret life as they are immersed in the unique island culture.
A world away from her beloved Nantucket, Hilderbrand takes us on a journey of discovery and adventure while wooing us with images of lush jungles and white, sandy beaches.
4. Troubles in Paradise
If the story of Irene Steele thrilled you, then this book is a must!
Picking up with Irene’s story on the island of St. John, we are immediately taken back to sweltering summer nights filled with mystery and secrets. Irene and her sons have moved into a villa and with the help of their friends, and have started making the island their home. Until the FBI visit and once again they are thrown into a maelstrom of emotion and intrigue.
Being followed by a suspicious vehicle and in the midst of a tropical storm, Irene and her sons will finally find the answers they have been searching for.
5. The Perfect Couple
Wedding angst and murder suspects intermingle in this beach read that has all the elements we have come to love from Elin Hilderbrand.
As a couple is about to say “I Do”, a body is found in the harbor, adding a dangerous element to an already tense situation. With beloved characters from other novels, The Perfect Couple is filled with mystery and intrigue that reveals flawed relationships while searching for a killer.
6. Here’s to Us
If you are wanting something a bit different, then Here’s to Us is the novel for you.
Filled with the same Nantucket charm and mouth-watering meals, it is centered on 3 women who were, at some stage, married to the same man.
Deacon Thorpe, celebrity chef, liked his women vibrant and spirited. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett did not disappoint, and it made Deacon’s final wish even harder to stomach. On his death, all three women come together in a ramshackle Nantucket cottage and sparks fly.
Filled with jealousy, anger, lies, and grief, the story of three remarkable women and the bond they shared with the same man will either help them put aside their differences or tear them apart for good.
7. Winter Street
Calling all Christmas lovers!
This festive story shares the magic of Nantucket at Christmas and will leave you with all the warm, fuzzy feelings you could want.
The Quinn family is a quirky mix of dysfunction and chaos, which makes them infinitely relatable. Kelly Quinn owns the Winter Street Inn and is excited to get all 4 kids together for the holidays.
When he catches his wife kissing Santa, the family is flung into a situation that no one knows how to cope with. Each of the children is dealing with their own drama and it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife to save Christmas.
8. Silver Girl
What do you do when you lose everything?
Meredith Martin Delinn is faced with this question when her husband is involved in dodgy business dealings and the life she had disappeared. With no home and no support, she goes to Nantucket with her old best friend to heal and find herself again.
But the two women can’t run from their pasts or forget what could have been. Faced with the realities of the lives they have chosen, each will come to recognize the importance of friendship and the power of love and forgiveness.
9. A Summer Affair
When Claire Danner Crispin is asked to chair a fancy Gala in Nantucket, she knows that it has more to do with her ties to famous rockstar, Max West than anything else. Agreeing to the job, the mother of four takes on more than she can handle.
Juggling her career as a glassblower, motherhood, a love affair, and the pressure to impress a Manhattan socialite, Claire is stretched to breaking point.
In trying to pull off the biggest charity event Nantucket has ever seen, Claire has to deal with heartbreak, friendship faux-pas, her childhood sweetheart, and the pressure of trying to do it all.
10. Summer of ‘69
In her first historical novel, Elin Hilderbrand brings the history of Nantucket to life in Summer of ’69.
Following the lives of four siblings during a summer in the ‘60s, the story brings to life the vibrancy of an era that shaped American history.
Blair, the oldest, stuck at home and pregnant with twins, Kirby and her avid involvement in the civil rights movement and women’s liberation, Tiger recently deployed to Vietnam, and Jessie, left behind with her mother and grandmother who both have secrets.
The upheaval of a country is mirrored in the stories of the family and it will forever change their lives.
11. The Castaways
How well do you know your friends?
This book explores the depths of friendship but also the way deception and mistrust can undermine the tightest bonds.
When Greg and Tess McAvoy are killed in a boating accident, their friends are left devastated and distrustful. Amidst infidelity rumors, the circle of friends grieve together but also struggle to find out what actually happened to Greg and Tess.
Buried tensions, lies, and deceit all come to the fore as they navigate the murky waters of their relationships and the lies they told to protect them.
12. The Island
Birdie Cousins is a woman who takes things in her stride, including the planning of her daughter’s elaborate wedding.
She is caught unaware though when Chess abruptly breaks off her engagement and is left broken after devastating news. Putting her own new romance on hold, Birdie takes her daughters and sister to the remote Tuckernuck island off the coast of Nantucket.
With no connection to the outside world, it seems like the perfect spot to take stock and heal. In reality, the women are forced to deal with each other, their emotions, hard truths, and their ability to love.
13. The Beach Club
Elin Hilderbrand’s first novel, The Beach Club is a sexy story of summer and the staff of a Nantucket hotel.
Mack Peterson, the hotel manager, is having a rough summer. His boss has arrived full of demands and his girlfriend is pushing for a proposal. After a dangerous altercation with a fellow staff member, Mack realizes that things need to change.
The personal lives of the hotel staff are thrown into sharp relief when a hurricane threatens their lives, the hotel, and everything it represents.
This book epitomizes the beach read elements we have come to expect from Hilderbrand and firmly sets her up as the go-to author for holiday reading.
14. The Matchmaker
Do you believe in the perfect match?
Dabney Kimball Beech certainly does, and she has a gift for helping couples find each other. Her husband and daughter think she should mind her business but with 42 couples successfully matched, Dabney is confident in her gift.
Until Clendenin Hughes returns to Nantucket and Dabney is forced to question her feelings for the man who stole her heart as a boy.
When tragedy strikes, Dabney is determined to help those around her find true love, while maybe letting herself have a chance at it as well.
Following the story of three women during a Nantucket summer, Barefoot shares the lives of Vicki, Brenda, and Melanie.
Vicki is dealing with a serious medical diagnosis, Brenda is jobless after a scandalous affair with a student and Melanie is finally pregnant after numerous rounds of in vitro, only to discover that her husband has been having an affair.
The three women are all dealing with the complexities of their lives when 22-year-old Josh Flynn arrives, putting an end to their summer of relaxation and calm.
Friendships are tested and so are the women’s ability to forgive, heal and love.
You might not have vacation days, but pick up one of these books and you will be transported to a Nantucket summer
Elin Hilderbrand has the unique ability to write stories that are light-hearted and romantic, while still exploring the intricacies of life and relationships.
Her books will help you unwind when you need to take a break and they will be the first thing you pack when you finally get the chance to escape.
Whether heading to the beach or a cozy cabin, Hildebrand’s novels will transport you to a land of sun and sand where a summer of possibilities awaits.