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Golden Girl

By Elin Hilderbrand

An Endearing and Entertaining Tale of Loss and a Family Full of Flaws That Teaches Us About Forgiveness



Vivi Howe, the author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three grown children, is jogging near her home on Nantucket when she is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Vivi soul is quickly escorted by her “guardian” Martha to a chic “green” waiting room in the “Beyond.” Martha allows Vivi the summer to watch what happens to her children after her death and grants her three “nudges” to alter events affecting her children. Martha advises Vivi to use her nudges wisely.

Vivi’s children include Willa, who has had three miscarriages; Carson, a bartender, who parties until all hours of the night and Leo, who is soon off to college and is struggling in his relationship with his high maintenance girlfriend. Police Chief Ed Kapenash is investigating Vivi's death, and all fingers point to Leo’s long-time best friend Cruz, who was the first person to find Vivi. Was Cruz, who was like a second son to Vivi, responsible for her death?

When a relationship from Vivi’s past comes to light, family members are shocked and Vivi's last book, titled Golden Girl, skyrockets in the rankings.


The writing, the setting, and the story for Hilderbrand’s 27th novel were enjoyable. Who wouldn’t want to escape with a beach read to Nantucket? Her descriptions of the high-end homes, the restaurants, and the flora and fauna of the island are enticing.

Sometimes the timing of when you read a book makes all the difference. I was prepared to be unimpressed with Golden Girl. I had not been overly enamored with Hilderbrand’s most recent novels and delayed reading this one for months. When I finally pIcked the book up my timing must have been right, I was ready for something light. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. I devoured it quickly and for a beach read the novel didn’t disappoint.

The writing is crisp, clear and easy on the eyes. The story is entertaining and the characters are complex and authentic and full of issues and drama. Hildebrand nimbly includes and negotiates topics such as ex-spouses, discrimination, secret pasts, and extra-marital affairs. Martha’s character and Vivi’s afterlife watching experience was unique, intriguing and even amusing. Wouldn’t it be nice if this clever invention was real?

Similar to Vivi, Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and three children. She grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of John Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa. Narrator Erin Bennett’s vocal inflections made listening to this book as breezy as the shore on Nantucket.

Publisher Hachette Book Group

Published June 1, 2021

Narrated Erin Bennett

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