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The Identicals

A dazzling setting and great writing about a frustrating dysfunctional sibling relationship makes for yet another tempting summer beach read



A story about identical twins who couldn’t be any less alike. Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha’s Vineyard by ferry. But the two Islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for fourteen years. Now 39, Tabitha, lives on Nantucket and runs her mother’s high-end dress boutique and has an out of control high school daughter, Ainsley. Harper lives on Martha’s Vineyard and is taking care of her dying father and having an affair with her father’s doctor. When a family crisis forces them to band together or at least appear to, the twins ultimately realize that the special bond they share is more important than the sibling rivalry that has driven them apart for the better part of their lives.


Loved the setting of THE IDENTICALS in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and the intro which talked about the difference between the two islands and how islanders view each other. The descriptions of the places and scenes on the islands were absolutely captivating. I wanna go!

The writing was great and typical of Hildebrand. And while this would make a great summer read for many, it was not the book for me as I continue to search for books with strong women characters that make a difference. I had difficulty connecting to, or even liking any of the main female characters. Both the twins are deeply flawed and have made one bad decision after another. It was really frustrating to read about bright, educated women holding grudges, creating drama and making really stupid choices.

But they come by it honestly, their parents also made some pretty wacky decisions in the past. One of most unbelievable parts of the backstory was when the twin’s parents decided to divorce, they told the twins they would be split up; one twin will live with Eleanor, the formidable mom, on Nantucket while the other will go to Martha’s Vineyard to live with the fun loving dad, Billy. The parents don’t care which twin goes with which parent, but they make the girls themselves decide. They were only fourteen. They both wanted to go with Billy, so the twins had to resort to Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide. Splitting up the twins—heartbreaking!

Even though I didn’t like the main characters, they were tremendously well-developed and they evolved throughout the story. A cast of many other colorful characters also added interest and depth to the story. I particularly loved the Epilogue by Fish—a perfect conclusion.

ELIN HILDERBRAND who lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville Pennsylvania and traveled extensively before setting settling on Nantucket which has been the settings for five of her previous novels Hildebrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Publisher Little, Brown and Company

Published June 13, 2017


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