Saturday, June 17, 2017

(52)The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand


Tabitha and Harper Frost may look alike, but that is where their similarities end.   Tabitha is chic and stylish - helping their famous designer mother run her empire. When they were teenagers their parents divorced and a game of rock, paper, scissors determined which girl was going to go with their father, Billy.  Harper "won" and left Nantucket for Martha's Vineyard with their father.  The girls remained close until fourteen years ago when a tragedy permanently destroyed their relationship.

Fast forward to present day - the Twins are closing in on forty, their dad just died,  and their lives are a mess.  Harper is working a dead-end job and having an affair with her father's married doctor. Tabitha recently broke up with her boyfriend of four years, her mother's store is hemorrhaging money, and her sixteen daughter is a pot-smoking delinquent.   In an interesting twist to The Parent Trap, the sister's switch lives.  Harper goes to Nantucket to run the store and look out for Ainsley while Tabitha goes to the Vineyard to get Billy's house ready to sell.  Will this life-swap be what it takes to repair the sister's damaged relationship?

It took me a minute to get into The Identicals because at first both Tabitha and Harper were pretty dreadful characters.  Tabitha was a horrible parent and Harper was sleeping with a married man.  They did the "life-swap" and it took that change for me to start to see some redeeming qualities.  More so in Harper than in Tabitha  - Tabitha was still hard for me to like. There wasn't ever one moment where Tabitha owned up to her mistakes, it was like she just decided to let it all go.  Ainsley, Tabitha's teen daughter, also went through some redemption with the help of her Aunt Harper.  She was also pretty dreadful at first.  Once the redemption started I could barely put the book down.  Things wrapped up pretty tidily and I loved how the final words were spoken from the viewpoint of Harper's dog, Fish. It added a degree of charm that wasn't there before.

Bottom line - Nantucket is a favorite summer location for not only tourists but authors, as well. Every author brings their own flavor of Nantucket.  Elin Hilderbrand definitely brings more "meat" to her stories than other authors, but that is one of the reasons why I love her books.  Life is dirty and messy - even on Nantucket.

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