“The Perfect Couple” is the perfect beach read

It all starts with a murder on the eve of Nantucket’s biggest society wedding.

The bride, who is mysteriously walking the shore in the wee hours of the morning, finds her very best friend – her maid of honor – lifeless and floating in the cold morning waters.

The investigation begins at the Winbury estate, a home so lovely and refined, it seems criminal to hold interrogations and “whodunit” conversations within its bright halls.

Author Elin Hildebrand crafts a tangled web characters, personalities who blend seamlessly into the sunny Nantucket lifestyle that contrasts so starkly with their private lives.

In a world of coastal cottages, hydrangea-lined paths, lobster and champagne, the story compels you to consider the morality, loyalty and pride of those who might seem as pretty as the Americana lifestyle they lead, but are by no means honorable people.

There are tender touches in the book, as discussions of loss of life happen in more ways than one. You are left wondering how some can be so careless in life, some recreationally trying to forget, while others are battling for each memory.

I found “The Perfect Couple” to be a study on the endurance of the family unit. There are characters whose family disowned them, some characters willingly choose not to see their family, others begrudge how work separates them from their loved ones far too much.

The Winbury’s, the primary focus of the novel, thrive on public perception, wealth and status. The Otis’, the bride’s family, could not be more different with their modest means and a more grounded perspective on things.

In all instances, secrets, insecurities and the fear of losing befall the characters and their families.

This is my first Elin Hilderbrand novel and it will not be my last. I like character-driven stories and she illustrated in a very honest way how status and circumstances do not change the personal struggles that people face beyond closed doors.

“The Perfect Couple” perfectly tells a tale of the disappointment some find when trying to climb the social ladder in life, while others look elsewhere and find true contentment.

And while I am not boasting on the merits of the criminal/investigatory aspect of the book, I found that to be just O.K., I did really enjoy reading it and was left wanting to know what happens next to a certain couple. It was a true page-turner.

Happy reading!

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