cover image Golden Girl

Golden Girl

Elin Hilderbrand. Little, Brown, $29 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-42008-2

Hilderbrand (The Beach Club) expertly tugs at the heartstrings with this fantastical story of an unexpected death. After Nantucket novelist Vivi Howe is killed in a hit-and-run, her family and friends are left reeling, among them her pregnant daughter, Willa; her hard-partying daughter, Carson; her son, Leo; and feckless ex-husband, JP. An Hèrmes scarf–wearing guardian spirit named Martha allows Vivi the chance to watch over them until the end of the summer, and allows her three “nudges” to keep them from harm. As the summer progresses and her loved ones struggle, Vivi learns her children’s secrets—and considers using a “nudge” to intervene on Carson’s relationship with an older man. She also watches as her ex-husband finally accepts that taking on a mistress was an epic mistake, and, with Martha’s help, begins to move on into the afterlife. Hilderbrand has a talent for creating characters that etch themselves onto readers’ hearts, and delivers a big, well-earned surprise with the hit-and-run driver’s identity. Strong supporting characters, notably a long-ago ex from Vivi’s past, add texture. Hilderbrand’s enchanting, emotional novel will delight her many fans. (June)