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The Love Season (2006)

The Love Season (2006)

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3.61 of 5 Votes: 5
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0312322305 (ISBN13: 9780312322304)
st. martin's press

About book The Love Season (2006)

I dunno who the (expletive) titled this book, but they were on crack.A frustrating read. Hilderbrand apparently operates under the delusion that a book takes only a few stock characters and a hint of mysterious mystery that isn't explained until the very end, bake at 500 degrees for fifteen minutes stir twice, success!Why, Elin? (Can I call you Elin?) You had the ingredients for creme brulee au chocolat and you settled for microwave brownies. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF? & more importantly, why would you do it to me?Here is the story that should have been written:Marguerite (plain; long hair; super-excellent chef) spent fifteen years on the end of the line jerked by Porter (wealthy, pretentious, selfish). He gave her a restaurant; she gave him good sex. Meanwhile, Marguerite is immediate BFF with his sister Candace (blonde; artlessly beautiful). Meanwhile, Candace has married and borne a child (Renata). Meanwhile, Marguerite has fallen in love with Candace. On the night Porter breaks it off for good, Marguerite realizes/confesses her love to the leggy and ethereal Candace, who is overwhelmed and a bit squicked out -- either by this revelation or by Marguerite's insistence that her sudden desire be returned in kind. Candace decides she needs a breath of fresh air. Candace goes for a run. Candace is hit by a truck.And so Marguerite wants to die too. She has placed all her emotional well-being in a single basket and it is sunk to the bottom of the reedy river. She has never been beautiful, never been strong or free in the way Candace was, so effortlessly graceful. So she goes to the woods and makes a fire and puts in one of her lovely silver spoons and burns the fuck out of her tongue, because destroying the last remaining joy in her life is the only sacrifice she can make that comes close to the pain of the loss of Candace. It swells up; she nearly dies; she is hospitalized (incarcerated) for a long time; she withdraws from the world and certainly from the restaurant ... until her god-daughter Renata calls and wants to meet her. I'm getting married, she says. I know I'm too young, but I'm in love.That's wonderful, darling, says Marguerite, desperate to see this girl, this image of Candace, this miracle. Why don't you come over for dinner and we'll talk.If it's okay, I had some questions about -- about my mum. He never talks about her.Marguerite closes her eyes even though the child cannot see her. She does not choke. She says, so gently she does not recognize her own voice, it's been stiff from the salt of Nantucket and held-back tears since Candace died and here it is again, almost new, almost whole -- Whatever you want to know. I'm here.And on opposite sides of the island, the women hang on to the telephone wire like it's the only solid thing in the world.The real book has various drawn-out dinner parties, nasty rich white people, nasty poor black people, various omg-are-we-lesbians?! friendships, unfinished business, men who exist on the tangent of women's emotional lives and in the foreground otherwise, lots of lobster, and is penned by an author who knows a lot about cooking but very little about baking bread.I like my version better.

Just who is Marguerite Beale, one time chef of once hot Les Parapluies, a trendy Nantucket restaurant? This novel tells us that and more. The chef has kept herself in her house on the island, until her godchild, Renata, calls to announce that, while on the island meeting her newly affianced parents, she wants to visit Marguerite (or Daisy, as she is known by familiars) to find out anything she can about her mother, who died when she was about five. This is the story of Renata’s day on the island and how she comes to realize that her life is not really what she thought it was and of Daisy, who spends the day remembering her ties with Renata’s mother. Both are in for a whirlwind, turning and twisting day, where nothing is as it seems and nothing turns out as it was supposed to. The author has provided an excellent perspective on the lives of these two women as well as on island life for the fiancé’s rich and well-connected family. The short time span of this novel distinguish it from other of the author’s novels, but the overall themes of love, friendship, family ring true as in her other novels. This novel is a bit deeper because it probes many areas where novels such as his one tend to gloss over. The shortened timeframe make characterization, description of the then and now and memories more important, and the author has risen to this. This novel provides an excellent look into the life of a small group of people and their lives spanning a number of years. I found it interesting the way the author managed to seamlessly cross the years from present to past. This is a good novel for the reader who is interested in love and all its ins and outs.

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This book reminds me a little bit of the movie "Notes on a Scandal," where a lonely older woman becomes attached--perhaps too attached--a younger friend. Marguerite or Daisy is the rare heroine who is not attractive and/or a man magnet. This is not common in any genre of women's fiction--certainly the other two female characters (Candace and Renata) had no problem attracting straight guys or lesbians for that matter.Daisy was different, however. She had only one lover in her life and her only friend was his sister. When it appeared she would lose them, her over emotional response caused the tragedy that left her a hermit for fourteen years. I think a lot of women could relate to Daisy/Marguerite. I could, which was a little scary. Most women in fiction start out, at least, "having it all." Daisy had the career but not the devoted best girlfriend or loving family. Her loneliness or fear of loneliness caused her to behave in an over-the-top manner. I did not think that she was gay, but that she really, really, really loved Candace as a friend and was just very over dramatic about telling her.I was considering giving this book 5 stars, but it had a couple of flaws. Renata's story arc was pretty predictable, and she was a bit immoral. There was also no real ending. There was some hope that Daisy's life would get a little better, but the reader was left hanging. Also, the injury suffered by one character I believe was not realistic or permanent. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book and will use it as a cautionary tale to make more friends and get out more.
—Kim Weiss

Of the books I've read my Hilderbrand this one I didn't like. Marguerite meets Porter in Paris. They are a couple in Marguerite's mind. His sister, Candace is her best friend. After 15 years, Porter tells Marguerite he is marrying another. (It shouldn't be a shock, he sees Marguerite only in the summer and is pictured in the newspapers with many other women.) Candace is killed by a drunk driver while trying to console Marguerite. Renata, Candace's daughter returns to Nantucket after 15 years and this story takes place in 24 hours. The whole book is drenched in guilt. It should have been called the Guilt Season. Not one of Hilderbrand's best, should be skipped.

It's hard to finish a book when you don't like the characters you are reading about. I did finish, but even then I was disappointed at the abrupt ending. I was very dismayed at the behavior of Renata. How much in love with Cade could she have been if she was eying Miles from the minute she meet him? Not what you would expect of a newly engaged 19 year old, where is her depth? The tantrum in the kitchen was so far over the top, that I almost put the book down right there. The only reason I kept reading was to see if Marguerite would finally have a favorable resolution to her relationship with Porter. No, instead, the waters are muddied with Marguerite's misplaced emotions toward Candice. Why the self-mutilation? Nothing made sense to me and the ending was not satisfying at all. I don't think I know anyone who goes through life the way these people did, maybe that is why I found it so hard to relate.And BTW, I hate when authors assume that you know some language besides the one you are reading in, and pepper the pages with untranslated phrases...
—Margie Rogers

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