Eight people, four couples, one island. From the outside, they were a happy and blessed group who traveled together, celebrated together, and raised their children together. The day that Addison and Pheobe, the Chief and Andrea, and Jeffrey and Delilah learned of the sailing accident that killed Greg and Tess, all illusions would be shattered.
Castaways is a novel told from six viewpoints as each friend tries to make sense of the deaths and of the events that led to that fateful day. Was it just a simple capsizing in bad weather? Or could the accident have been the result of foul play? From the first page, when we learn about the deaths, to last page, when we learn what happens one year later, the true stories of each castaway are revealed layer by layer. Eventually, all the pieces are provided and we can assemble them into a coherent whole.
Hilderbrand introduces us to imperfect, self-reflecting, and self-involved characters who are not easy to like. Their lives seem to veer off course onto paths that most of us would not take. Regardless, the story is addictive, and the reader is compelled to see the drama through to the end. The multiple connections and gulfs between and among the couples drive the plot forward, keeping us guessing until all is brought to light.
Although a few extraneous characters are described in more detail than was probably necessary, Hilderbrand has written a tight, well-told story that makes a good summer read. I recommend the book and plan to explore the author's other novels.
Castaways has a great website with discussion forums, photographs of Nantucket, and even a yummy-sounding summer cocktail recipe!
Published by Little, Brown, 2009
Challenges A-Z Author, 999, 100+