Elin Hilderbrand tugs on readers' heartstrings with great aplomb. In 28 Summers, she begins at the end of a long-term, unconventional romance and weaves the captivating story of star-crossed lovers through 28 years of history.
The 1978 movie Same Time, Next Year--an American romantic-comedy-drama--serves as inspiration to the structure of the story and to main characters Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud, who are fans of the film. Mallory and Jake developed an easy, flirtatious camaraderie over the phone while Jake and Cooper, Mallory's brother, roomed together at college. The two meet face-to-face only in 1993, while in their 20s--after Mallory inherits a Nantucket beach house from her aunt. Mallory plays host to soon-to-be-married Cooper and his friends, who gather on the island for his bachelor party on Labor Day weekend. The gathering goes bust on many levels, but Mallory and Jake forge an intimate bond--a soulmate connection--amid the mayhem and vow that every year, on Labor Day weekend, they should meet up again, just like in the iconic film.
For the next 28 years, the couple fulfills their pact, having contact with each other for only one weekend annually, where they secretly rekindle their romance and share the travails of their private lives--the challenges and sacrifices of dating and marriage to other people, parenthood and career pursuits. Careful plotting binds this deeply moving, powerful story. Hilderbrand (Summer of 69; The Perfect Couple) successfully entwines a host of surprising twists where multi-faceted characters become ensnared in thought-provoking romantic dilemmas. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines