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Golden Girl

Golden Girl

by Elin Hilderbrand

Narrated by Erin Bennett

Unabridged — 13 hours, 26 minutes

Elin Hilderbrand
Golden Girl

Golden Girl

by Elin Hilderbrand

Narrated by Erin Bennett

Unabridged — 13 hours, 26 minutes

Elin Hilderbrand

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Notes From Your Bookseller

Kick off the summer with another fabulous book from Elin Hilderbrand! Filled with sharp dialog, wit, gorgeous descriptions of pictureque Nantucket, and lots of inspiration, this delightful novel is not to be missed.

In this satisfying page-turner from "the queen of beach reads" (New York Magazine), a Nantucket novelist has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl.

On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket. She ascends to the Beyond where she's assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours, and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she'll have to think carefully where to use them.

From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigate her death, but her greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi's family will have to sort out their past and present mistakes-with or without a nudge of help from above-while Vivi finally lets them grow without her.

With all of Elin's trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect homes, plus a heartfelt message-the people we lose never really leave us-Golden Girl is a beach book unlike any other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


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)

From the Publisher

"Hilderbrand’s latest, most philosophical and (I’m declaring it) best novel. . . . The story is a family saga, a mystery and a moving retrospective that manages to be clever without being coy."—Elisabeth Egan, New York Times

"It's not officially summer until Elin Hilderbrand drops her annual page-turner. In this one, novelist Vivi dies in a hit-and-run and ascends to the Beyond, where she learns she has three "nudges" to influence events on earth. In this touching, scenic story, we learn what it is to let go and let life go on."—Good Housekeeping

"It's almost summer, which means Hilderbrand's legions of fans will be anxious for her latest. . . . This is classic Hilderbrand. . . . hopefully, she has many more Nantucket tales in store."—Booklist

"It has suspense, beautiful beach scenes and inspirational anecdotes. You really can't do better than that."—Cosmopolitan

"Golden Girl is surprising, delightful and—dare I say?—quirky. . . . The book is filled with Hilderbrand’s trademark gorgeous scenes and delicious dialogue. But Golden Girl also explores the author’s own place in the literary pantheon, often with a wink and a nod to the reader. . . . It is funny and heartbreaking, and even though it’s in some ways a departure for Hilderbrand, the novel still offers plenty of that Nantucket air to keep you turning pages."—BookPage

"Beautifully uplifting . . . an emotionally powerful story. Faithful readers have come to depend on Hilderbrand's top-notch escapist fiction that puts lively, dramatic new spins on families challenged by love and loss. Golden Girl will exceed their expectations."—Shelf Awareness

"Hilderbrand’s writing is witty, spunky, fun and dramatic."—Book Reporter


"Summer on Hilderbrand's Nantucket is never dull. This time she focuses on former lovers who now lead separate lives but share an island idyll once a year. Captivating and bittersweet."—People

"In her 25th novel, Hilderbrand gets everything right and leaves her ardent fans hungry for No. 26. Hilderbrand sets the gold standard in escapist fiction."—Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal


With almost 30 novels under her belt, best-selling author Hilderbrand (Troubles in Paradise) has produced another summer read with a twist. Vivian Howe is a famous novelist who lives on Nantucket (same as Hilderbrand, which raises the question of how autobiographical this book might be). But the plot veers away from Hilderbrand's life when Vivian is killed by a hit-and-run driver. In death, she goes to "the Beyond," where she is allowed to watch her family for one summer and is granted three "nudges" to influence their behavior from afar. Vivian now learns her family's secrets, such as her youngest daughter's affair with a much older in-law. Flashbacks to her early life show Vivian as a whole person and reveal how she and her family arrived at their pre-crash lives. A thread of mystery—who is the driver who killed Vivian?—runs throughout; her son's best friend had been the one to find her dying at the side of the road, so many on the small island suspect him, especially because of his subsequent odd behavior. Like Hilderbrand's other books, this title focuses on friendships and family, as well as women rivals and enemies. VERDICT Another great read from Hilderbrand, sure to please her many fans and new readers alike.—Jan Marry, Heritage P.L., New Kent & Charles City, VA

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2021-05-05
From the greenroom of the afterlife—make that Benjamin Moore "Parsley Snips" green—a newly dead Nantucket novelist watches life unfold without her.

In her 27th novel, Hilderbrand gives herself an alter ego—beloved beach-novel author Vivian Howe—sends her out for a morning jog, and immediately kills her off. A hit-and-run driver leaves Vivi dead by the side of the road, where her son's best friend discovers her body—or was he responsible for the accident? Vivi doesn't know, nor does she know yet that her daughter Willa is pregnant, or that her daughter Carson is having a terribly ill-advised affair, or that her son, Leo, has a gnawing secret, or that her ex is getting tired of the girl he dumped her for. She will discover all this and more as she watches one last summer on Nantucket play out under the tutelage of Martha, her "Person," who receives her in the boho-chic waiting room of the Beyond. Hermès-scarved Martha explains that Vivi will have three nudges—three chances to change the course of events on Earth and prevent her bereaved loved ones from making life-altering mistakes. She will also get to watch the publication of what will be her last novel, titled Golden Girl, natch, and learn the answers to two questions: Will the secret about her own life she buried in this novel come to light (who cares, really—she's dead now), and will it hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list (now there's an interesting question). She'll also get to see that one of her biggest wrongs is posthumously righted and that her kids have learned her most important lesson. As Willa says to Carson, "You know how she treats the characters in her books? She gives them flaws, she portrays them doing horrible things—but the reader loves them anyway. Because Mom loves them. Because they’re human.”

If novelists are auditioning to play God, Hilderbrand gets the part.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940177044774
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 06/01/2021
Edition description: Unabridged

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