Do you like reading books by the beach? How about books about the beach on the beach? There is no such thing as too much beach in Elin Hilderbrand’s books, as she has carved out a new category all by herself. She is a pioneer in writing romantic stories that take place on the beachy island of Nantucket.
In this post, you will discover her entire bibliography in the order of publication, alongside little-known information about the author and her writing journey.
But if you’re here for just the top recommendations, then you can see them below. The plot summaries for these recommendations are further down in the post.
Our Best Elin Hilderbrand Books at a glance:
- Summer of ’69
- The Hotel Nantucket
- 28 Summers
- Winter In Paradise
- What Happens In Paradise
- Troubles In Paradise
- The Perfect Couple
- Winter Street
- The Blue Bistro
Who is Elin Hilderbrand?
Elin Hilderbrand is the author behind the romantic novels that have generated dramatic interest in Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, where most of her stories take place.
Aside from changing the tourist traffic in Nantucket, Hilderbrand has achieved multiple awe-inspiring milestones for a female author. These include penning 20 books, successfully switching publishers, and having her work adapted for the screen.
She was born in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, on July 17, 1969. She grew up in one of the state’s coldest regions but spent her summers on sunny Cape Cod.
The contrast between Pennsylvania and Cape Cod made it clear to Hilderbrand what she preferred. However, her annual trips stopped when her father passed away, and she had to get a summer job. She spent her summers working at a Halloween factory instead of “playing touch football at low tide, collecting sea glass, digging pools,” and engaging in summertime fun.
But she committed to having “a real summer,” even if it took her all her life to work towards it. In July 1993, she would get much closer to her dream after moving to Nantucket to get a job at the local newspaper.
She wrote Beach Nights in 1999 and published it the next year with St. Martin’s Press. The book’s initial success led to increased demand for books with similar settings. She doubled down on the Nantucket location and even included the island in one of her book titles.
What started as fan service became a niche, with Elin Hilderbrand becoming synonymous with beachside adventures.
As her bibliography expanded, the literary world took notice of the incredible versatility shown by Hilderbrand despite her self-imposed limitations. Her books began to vary in character and narrative while the location remained close to Nantucket, literally or in spirit.
Her characters wouldn’t have cyclical lives, and the settings she would describe would morph with the progress and development in the real world. Also, in the real world, she would find her own romantic story with Chip Cunningham taking a hit.
She married in Siasconset, Massachusetts, in 1995 and divorced in 2015, a year after she had a double mastectomy. Hilderbrand had to stay strong through her medical and personal battles.
Writing helped her during this phase, as she began publishing two books a year from 2015 onward. In 2014, which was one of her toughest years, she produced three books.
While Hilderbrand hasn’t tied her publishing frequency with personal troubles, it is often inferred by her fans and literary journalists.
Hilderbrand would expand beyond the double confines of beach-adjacent and romantic-themed stories and write a murder mystery in 2018. Its success revitalized her writing career, bringing her a host of new fans and a Netflix adaptation deal.
Once the series premieres on Netflix, Hilderbrand is set to become far more popular with multiple book adaptation offers and new readers. All new readers, as well as TV producers, would need a list of her books, though. And you can find that list below in the order of publication.
Elin Hilderbrand Books In Order
- The Beach Club
- Nantucket Nights
- Summer People
- The Blue Bistro
- The Love Season
- A Summer Affair
- The Castaways
- The Island
- Silver Girl
- The Surfing Lesson: An Original Short Story
- Beautiful Day
- The Tailgate: An Original Short Story
- The Matchmaker
- Winter Street
- The Rumor
- Winter Stroll
- Here’s To Us
- Winter Storms
- The Identicals
- Winter Solstice
- The Perfect Couple
- Winter in Paradise
- Summer of ’69
- What Happens in Paradise
- Summer of ’79: A Summer of ’69 Story
- 28 Summers
- Troubles in Paradise
- Golden Girl
- The Sixth Wedding: A 28 Summers Story
- The Hotel Nantucket
Top Elin Hilderbrand Books to Read
Summer Of ’69
Summer of ’69 is, in many ways, the defining work of Elin Hilderbrand. Just like most of her stories, it revolves around Nantucket, where a multi-generational family drama unfolds as one ward in a family is sent off to the war and the rest have to cope.
Nantucket is where things take a dramatic shift and become rocky, and a house in Nantucket is the answer. It is a heartfelt read that makes you face the anxieties of inter-family conflict before you can see the sweet and well-deserved conclusion.
The Hotel Nantucket
If you like murder mysteries and ghost stories, you will be pleasantly surprised by this hotel murder mystery featuring the ghost of Grace Hadley. Her death had marked a steep decline in the hotel’s otherwise great reputation.
It turned into a budget hotel and was ultimately abandoned until it was purchased and renovated. The Hotel Nantucket gets a second chance when a team of hotel servers and the new general manager decide to restore it to its past level of reputation and demand.
But for that to happen, Grace’s ghost must be laid to rest.
The premise of this book is pretty interesting, and it has a polarizing effect. If you can look past the permissive attitude regarding cheating in this story, you’ll definitely enjoy the masterful life-long study of a romance that lasts over 28 years.
The book takes a look at an agonizing romance that is realized over a weekend every year for 28 years straight. Both characters continue to live their lives, which are detailed throughout the book.
They even end up marrying other people while continuing their once-a-year, weekend-long affair. Real-life events are woven into the narrative, making it a great read overall.
Winter In Paradise
Winter in Paradise is admired for its ability to transport you to the Caribbean with its rich details and vibrant descriptions of culture. Elin Hilderbrand brings her best to Winter In Paradise, a novel about second chances.
The protagonist’s husband is the “write on the skies” kind of romantic, and her life seems perfect. Then she receives a phone call reporting her husband’s death. This shakes her for two reasons. Firstly, her husband is dead.
And secondly, he was too far away for no apparent reason. As she visits the Caribbean island where her husband died, the island’s culture begins to draw her into considering a permanent stay.
What Happens In Paradise
This book is the sequel to the Winter In Paradise entry. The characters decide to return to St. John’s Island because they feel that there’s more on Paradise Island for them. Elin fleshes out the characters and sheds light on the tensions that were set up in the previous book.
You will love this book if you have read Winter in Paradise. It offers answers to questions you might have had towards the end of the first book, but it also plants enough questions to make you want to read the final entry in the Paradise trilogy.
Troubles In Paradise
With Troubles in Paradise, Elin Hilderbrand pens the perfect conclusion to a very human story. It does not make sense to read this book without having read the other entries in the Paradise Trilogy. It has plenty of twists but also definitive answers to the death of the protagonist’s husband.
The Perfect Couple
The Perfect Couple is a great read for longtime Elin Hilderbrand fans as well as newcomers because it is a standalone story that features characters who have appeared in other Hilderbrand novels.
It tells the story of a murder that happens at an oceanfront wedding venue and the subsequent investigation that reveals that no couple is perfect. It has plenty of twists that keep you turning the pages. But more importantly, it has all the descriptive depth of a classic Hilderbrand book.
Winter Street follows the Quinn family, which has to stay together and be strong in the face of adversity. There is a love triangle, a federal crime, and an unplanned pregnancy in the mix. Add to that a house fire, and there is some serious drama.
Winter Street is a perfect read for people who enjoy books about destination visits on holidays. Elin Hilderbrand packs the location with surprises and plot-driving twists that draw you into the destination as much as the story.
The Blue Bistro
Do you ever feel like escaping the rigid routine of your life to find a life elsewhere where no one knows you? The Blue Bistro is a book about a second chance at life for a character who has had enough heartbreak.
Adrienne Dealey’s latest long-term relationship ends in disaster. She decides to move to Nantucket and give herself a fresh start working at The Blue Bistro. Part of the plot tension comes from Dealey’s lack of experience.
And part of it comes from her getting involved with her new boss. The book is steamy and captivating, and it exemplifies escapist fiction at its best.
Elin Hilderbrand FAQs
Where Do Elin Hilderbrand’s Books Take Place?
Elin Hilderbrand’s books take place on Nantucket Island, with some expectations that also take place in similar locations. Her books capture the summertime fantasy perfectly, and there could be no stage better than the one where the author lives.
Elin Hilderbrand lives in Nantucket, and her lived experience informs her descriptions of the island. Older books describe an older island, while the new ones allude to development and progress. As her books promote tourism on the island, tourism becomes more prominent in the stories as well.
What Is Elin Hilderbrand The Rumor About?
The rumor is about two best friends who are known and envied for their perfect family lives and friendship. The title of the book refers to a rumor that begins to circulate in Nantucket and threatens to undo what the best friends hold dear.
What Is Considered Elin Hilderbrand’s Best Book?
Summer of ’69 is considered Hilderbrand’s best book because of its sales and New York Times bestseller list rank, while The Perfect Couple is considered her best work in recent memory because of its movie adaptation.
Should I Read Elin Hilderbrand In Order?
You do not need to read Elin Hilderbrand’s books in order. Moreover, you don’t need to read all her books, as they don’t build on top of each other. Still, it is better to read the books in order because the island of Nantucket acts as a character that grows with time. It is interesting to see the island develop throughout her books.
Is Elin Hilderbrand A Twin?
Elin Hilderbrand’s twin is Eric Hilderbrand, who is 6 minutes younger. Some of her experience growing up as a twin informs one of her books, The Identicals.
What Is Elin Hilderbrand’s Writing Process?
Elin Hilderbrand’s writing process includes writing scenes first and character descriptions (around four pages), followed by plotting a narrative that uses those characters and weaves through the scenes.
Wrapping it up
Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of beach reads. Her books take place on Nantucket Island or in similar beachside locations. The novels follow characters on vacation who find themselves in unexpected romantic entanglements. If you like holiday novels, Hildrebrand’s bibliography has plenty to offer, and this post lists them all.