Feel sand between your toes and sun on your skin in this breezy treat from reigning Beach Read Queen Elin Hilderbrand.
Good to know
Hollis Shaw’s life seems picture-perfect. She’s the creator of the popular food blog Hungry with Hollis and is married to Matthew, a dreamy heart surgeon. But after she and Matthew get into a heated argument one snowy morning, he leaves for the airport and is killed in a car accident. The cracks in Hollis’s perfect life—her strained marriage and her complicated relationship with her daughter, Caroline—grow deeper.
So when Hollis hears about something called a “Five-Star Weekend”—one woman organizes a trip for her best friend from each phase of her teenage years, her twenties, her thirties, and midlife—she decides to host her own Five-Star Weekend on Nantucket. But the weekend doesn’t turn out to be a joyful Hallmark movie.
The husband of Hollis’s childhood friend Tatum arranges for Hollis’s first love, Jack Finigan, to spend time with them, stirring up old feelings. Meanwhile, Tatum is forced to play nice with abrasive and elitist Dru-Ann, Hollis’s best friend from UNC Chapel Hill. Dru-Ann’s career as a prominent Chicago sports agent is on the line after her comments about a client’s mental health issues are misconstrued online. Brooke, Hollis’s friend from her thirties, has just discovered that her husband is having an inappropriate relationship with a woman at work. Again! And then there’s Gigi, a stranger to everyone (including Hollis) who reached out to Hollis through her blog. Gigi embodies an unusual grace and, as it happens, has many secrets.
The Five-Star Weekend
Another summer on the island is upon us and, as usual, we have a lot to talk about. Chef Mario Subiaco proposed to Lizbet Keaton on the widow’s walk of the Hotel Nantucket; there’s a camera crew filming out in Monomoy (Blond Sharon has it “on good authority” that it’s a limited series for Netflix); police chief Ed Kapenash has been admitted to the Nantucket Cottage Hospital after complaining of chest pain— and there’s a steamy debate about whether or not Nantucket should allow topless beaches. (We think of ourselves as progressive and sophisticated, but let’s face it— we’re not France.)
Then we hear a rumor that Hollis Shaw is hosting something she’s calling the “Five-Star Weekend” at her house in Squam.
This, of course, captures our full attention.
Hollis Shaw is something of a unicorn.
She started out life as one of us. She was the daughter of Tom Shaw, Nantucket’s busiest plumbing contractor, and Charlotte Shaw, a kindergarten teacher. When Hollis was a toddler, not quite two years old, Charlotte Shaw died of an aneurysm in the shower, and Tom Shaw was left to raise his daughter alone. But on this island, we pitch in— it takes a village!— and we all offered moral support as Hollis grew up. We watched her dance in ballet recitals, shoot free throws at the Boys and Girls Club, and cheer for her boyfriend Jack Finigan in the stands at the Nantucket Whalers football games. Hollis was a good student, an outstanding softball pitcher (the team won the state championship Hollis’s junior year and came in second her senior year), and a hard worker. The cottage out in Squam where she lived with her father was modest (though the land it sat on was worth a fortune), and as soon as Hollis was old enough, she kept house and cooked every night. She got a job opening scallops on Old North Wharf after school, and in the summers, she and her best friend, Tatum, waited tables at the Rope Walk.
In her senior year of high school, Hollis wrote what her English teacher Ms. Fox called “the best college essay I’ve read in thirty-one years.” It took the form of a letter to Hollis’s deceased mother, Charlotte. Dear Mom, it started, I think you would be proud of the way I turned out. Here are some of the reasons why.
Why I love it
Author, The Most Likely Club
I inhaled The Five-Star Weekend while on vacation, and it was like being on two vacations at once. Physically, I was in Vegas listening to the ding-a-ling of slot machines and dodging drunken revelers, but my mind was firmly in glorious Nantucket—happy to be back again in the capable hands of the undisputed queen of the island, Elin Hilderbrand.
Warning: this book will make you hungry. Hilderbrand’s protagonist Hollis Shaw is an Internet darling, luring millions of viewers with delectable dishes on her site Hungry with Hollis. Her life appears picture perfect, from her swoon-worthy charcuterie boards to the chic tabletops she sets them on. But Hollis’s life comes to a shattering halt when her husband dies in a tragic car crash. Suddenly, making her famous bacon and rosemary pecans doesn’t seem as important as it once was.
To pull herself out of this morass, Hollis invites four friends—one from each decade of her life—to her Nantucket home for a “Five-Star Weekend.” The itinerary is coordinated down to the colors the women will wear on each outing but there are plenty of twists, each one juicier than the next, to complicate the agenda. I found myself laughing, cringing, crying, cheering, and gasping as I tore through the pages of this book. This is a story about friendship, second chances, living in the era of clicks and swipes and reconciling your past and present when they collide.
The Five-Star Weekend is definitely a five-star read!
Member ratings (6,604)
Salt Lake City, UT
These are always juicy and so much fun to read. The characters—even the wealthy ones I don’t always identify with—are well-rounded and nuanced characters. Love, drama, gossip, suspense—it’s all here!
5 stars for 5 star weekend! Elin did it again! I didn’t know if I’d love her latest like I loved the hotel Nantucket, but she really does write captivating stories. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Flower Mound, TX
I love that her books have a little bit if every genre within the pages! I love the Nantucket scenery while there’s a hint of a mystery lurking behind the emotional, romantic story. This book was ????!
New Albany, OH
This gets a loved rating because I love this author and will read all Elin Hilderbrand books. That being said, this wasn’t my favorite but it was a really cute, easy, worthwhile read that went by fast
Coatesville , PA
Elin books are always a guaranteed 5 star read for me, this was no different! What wasn’t their to love? Real, raw characters, Nantucket, female friendships/found family, a pinch of romance. New fave!