What to comfort read in August 2023

Books on wooden desk table and abstract background.

August accomplishments included getting the boys settled in their apartments and watching my daughter begin her senior year of high school. It is wonderful that the kids are starting new seasons of their lives, but it left me feeling nostalgic and a bit sad.

My solution to this feeling was to read! The right book is comfort food for me. There’s quite a list of them, but the one I want to highlight is The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand.

Here is the book description:

Book cover showing a woman in a beach chair overlooking the water

Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?  

Filled with the emotional depth and multiple points of view that characterize Hilderbrand’s novels (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added dash of Roaring Twenties history, The Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this compelling summer drama. 

My take:

This mini plot made my day. It is so much fun to get into the heads of so many different characters. Someday, I want to write a novel like this, but I’m not to that point yet. It takes a lot of talent to be able to tell a story from so many viewpoints. 

I was skeptical about the addition of a ghost to the story, but Grace adds a wonderful little punch to things, especially as she inserts herself into people’s lives. I suspect I’ve read other books by Hilderbrandt and I will read others in the future. It was fun and made me smile when I needed some distraction. 

What else I’m reading:

I also read The Starfish Sisters by Barbara O’Neal and enjoyed it. A bit more intense than The Hotel Nantucket but good nonetheless. 

I finished two audiobooks. The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. Both are great literary fiction books. Both are sad and made me remember difficult times in my life. Probably not what I needed while I was getting the kids ready for school, but both authors did a phenomenal job of telling their respective stories. 

September Plans:

It’s college application season so I’ll be reading and editing my daughter’s college application essays. I do not remember having to write so many essays. That means a) I’m of a different generation or b) I didn’t apply to as many universities. I’m thinking both answers might be accurate! 

I also plan to read a new-to-me Women’s Fiction series as well as a thriller/suspense story told from the perspective of a woman. I’ll let you know what I think!

Until next time…