Review by Melinda Garza
Elin Hilderbrand's latest novel, The Identicals, features identical twins, Harper and Tabitha. The story goes back and forth between two islands, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Harper and Tabitha are identical twins but are so different and live two very different lives. When their parents divorced, they played rock, paper, scissors to see which daughter went with which parent. Harper won and chose to go with their dad, Billy Frost, in which Tabitha was very upset about. Tabitha had to live with their mother, Eleanor Roxie Frost (ERF). Tabitha has not been able to forgive Harper for choosing to go with Billy and she having to live with her mom.
Harper and Billy lived on Martha's Vineyard. At 73 years old, Billy dies. His doctor, Dr. Zimmer, is Harper's lover. Dr. Zimmer is also married to Sadie. She owns The Upper Crust. The night of Billy's death, Harper and Dr. Zimmer (Reed) decide to meet and Sadie catches them. The whole island is talking about their love affair. Harper also has another boyfriend by the name of Drew. She isn't really into him as he is someone she dates in order to make Reed jealous.
Harper has to contact her mother and sister when Billy dies in order to notify them of his death and services. Meanwhile, Tabitha and Eleanor live in Nantucket which is a fancy upscale haven for billionaires. Eleanor is a woman of refinement and owns a clothing store. Tabitha had no real youth as she became pregnant as a young woman. Due to living with Eleanor, Tabitha has adopted her mom's taste, is snobby and uptight, and lives in Eleanor’s shadow. She works for her mom at her shop. Tabitha later becomes pregnant with a 2nd child who was born prematurely. Her first born is named Ainsley and is a wild rebellious teenager who hates her mom and is selfish. Tabitha was having a difficult time adjusting and taking care of her kids shortly after her son was born and released from the hospital so Harper went to help. On the last night of her stay, Harper insists Tabitha and she go out for a fun night. That very night, Tabitha's newborn son dies. Tabitha blames Harper. If Harper had not insisted they go out she would have been home and might have prevented his sudden death. They, unfortunately, haven't spoken in 14 years since that tragic night.
When Tabitha, Eleanor, and Ainsley attend Billy's services, drama occurs so they leave early. Upon arriving home, Eleanor falls and breaks her hip. Tabitha goes with Eleanor to the hospital but Ainsley continues to give Tabitha trouble. Harper goes to help out with Ainsley despite Tabitha not wanting anything to do with her or her help. Tabitha then decides to go take care of Billy's home despite Harper wanting to sell it as is. Basically, they switch lives and islands.
Are Harper and Tabitha able to reconcile? Are they able to overcome their bitterness with each other and love each other again? Are they able to help each other out with Ainsley, Eleanor's store, and Billy's home? What happens with Harper and Reed? What about Tabitha - is she able to find love again, forgive, accept her past, and be the mother she wants to be to Ainsley?
Elin Hilderbrand wrote this page turning novel with lots of twists and surprises. It is a great summer read about an unforgettable summer that will change the identical twins forever. I could not put this book down even while on my own beach vacation. This is a definite must read.
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About the author:
Elin Hilderbrand is six minutes older than her twin brother, Eric. She spent time on Martha's Vineyard (summer 1989) before she ever discovered Nantucket (summer 1993), the island she has called home for twenty-four years. Hilderbrand is the mother of three busy teenagers (pause and consider what a miracle it is that this novel even exists). The Identicals is her nineteenth novel.
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