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The Blue Bistro

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Elin Hilderbrand, author of the enchanting Summer People and The Beach Club, invites you to experience the perfect getaway with her sparkling new novel.

Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket's hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business...and they share an instant attraction. But there is a mystery about their situation: what is it about Fiona, the Blue Bistro's chef, that captures Thatcher's attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether to open her heart for the first time, or move on, as she always does.

Infused with intimate Nantucket detail and filled with the warmth of passion and the breeze of doubt, The Blue Bistro is perfect summer reading.

356 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published June 1, 2005

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About the author

Elin Hilderbrand

75 books38.3k followers
Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.



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5 stars
15,537 (32%)
4 stars
19,295 (40%)
3 stars
10,468 (21%)
2 stars
2,113 (4%)
1 star
405 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,317 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.7k followers
July 10, 2017
There’s some sort of magic in the air at The Blue Bistro—the food, the ambiance, the people—take your pick, it’s all intoxicating.

If you haven’t found the time to read an Elin Hilderbrand yet (Ahem . . . what are you waiting for?!), be prepared to make a new entry on your bucket list—a trip to Nantucket or maybe even two. Making a choice between sun and sand or holiday cheer during Winter Stroll might seem easy (I'm a beach girl!), but then again, I’m not so sure. All I know is, after being transported by the author’s words many times, I’m determined to see it all with my own eyes.

Through Adrienne Dealey, we get to experience Nantucket from a newbie's perspective. A twenty-something prone to flitting from one resort town to the next, usually when her most recent relationship goes south, Adrienne is determined to leave the hotel scene behind and make some real money working in a restaurant. Armed with three self-imposed rules, she heads from a ski town to the beaches of Nantucket. Lucky for her, she lands an assistance manager position at one of the high-end restaurants on the island, The Blue Bistro.

A world-renowned chef, who balks at interviews and is best described as a kitchen hermit, Fiona’s food is remarkable. It’s not foofoo or over the top fancy, it’s rich and delicious—it's foodgasm worthy by all accounts. I'm warning you now, munching while reading is pretty much a given; the vivid descriptions of Fiona's yummy dishes are bound to get your stomach growling.

Fiona and Thatcher, her best friend and business partner, have created a familial feeling amongst the staff, which makes the inner working of the restaurant incredibly fun to watch. There’s an instant connection between Thatcher and Adrienne, but things are complicated by his lifelong friendship with Fiona. There’s something more going on there and Adrienne seems to be the only one that's not in on the secret. The author plays up the intrigue well, but it's obvious what's going down. That's not to say figuring things out took away from the story in any capacity—my heart was still torn in two.

A ton of emphasis is placed on the food and the day-to-day of the restaurant, which I enjoyed, but I would have appreciated the same level of emphasis on Thatcher and Adrienne’s relationship. There were aspects of their budding romance that were glossed over and sort of left to the reader to infer. The ending also felt a tad rushed—not quite as satisfying as I imagined Fiona’s savory doughnuts to be.

All in all, this was a great read and definitely one worthy of being dogeared during a day of beach reading.
Profile Image for Stacey.
881 reviews161 followers
August 14, 2015
I have mixed feelings about this. 1. Thatcher was so selfish it drove me nuts. 2. The ending. I want to know what's next for Thatcher and Adrienne. 3. What about Dr. Don's wedding?? A good portion was spent on the wedding and Adrienne's acceptance of Mavis. How does Dr. Don feel about Thatcher now? As long as it took me to finish this book, I feel a little let down.
Profile Image for Kate Worth.
Author 3 books82 followers
February 26, 2013
The Blue Bistro is about a woman in her late twenties named Adrienne who comes to a crisis point in her life after her boyfriend, a drug addicted, unemployed loser, steals her life savings and thousands more from her employer. She turns him in to the police and flees town, heading to Nantucket where she hopes to find the next in a long line of hotel resort jobs she has worked since graduating from college.

Adrienne has made a string of bad romantic choices, opting consistently for men who are emotionally unavailable or flawed in major ways. When a kind college professor falls in love with her, she freaks and runs, breaking his heart. Her fear of commitment — to person or place — has its genesis in the death of her mother when she was a young girl. Her grieving father, a dentist, embarked on a nomadic existence, dragging her with him. This sets a pattern Adrienne continues in adulthood.

Flash forward and Adrienne lucks into a job as assistant manager at the wildly popular, magical Blue Bistro on Nantucket. Hilderbrand's description of the island eatery, the camaraderie of the staff, the food, the wealthy, famous customers, were richly detailed and drew me into a world that I could see, hear, smell, touch, and taste.

Adrienne is attracted to her boss, Blue Bistro co-owner Thatcher. The problem? Thatcher's complicated enmeshment with his partner, Fee, his first love and best friend since childhood. Fee suffers from cystic fibrosis. Her lifespan is likely to be short and she has emotionally manipulated him into investing in her dream restaurant. Despite having what should have been a sympathetic story, I didn't like her. She is brusque, selfish, and controlling. She is also seeing a married man. This is presented in such a way as to make her role sympathetic, but it didn't work. It is another manifestation of her selfishness.

Thatcher falls in love with Adrienne, but Fee's medical and emotional needs trump Adrienne's every time. I understand that he has a strong commitment to his longtime friend, but his treatment of Adrienne is dismissive and inexcusable. I never got a clear sense of him. For me, he never evolved into the hero of the piece. He doesn't choose Adrienne until after Fee dies. I felt he was weak and spineless, not man enough to take a stand, ever the slave to dominating Fee. A pantywaist. A milquetoast. A poltroon. (The thesaurus has some pretty great synonyms for wimp.) Not a man who would move Heaven and Earth to be with the woman he loves. Adrienne deserves better.

Although I enjoyed descriptions of food, after a point it became repetitive. I found myself skipping forward. The romance throughout was fleeting and fade-to-black. I don't need porny sex scenes, but I would have liked a stronger emotional connection and sense of intimacy between the main characters. In the end, the conflict was resolved too easily and at the speed of light. When Adrienne felt Thatcher's new wedding ring on her cheek as he kissed her, she should have had a strong reaction, but she didn't. If he went back to Nantucket looking for her, why the hell didn't he take the damn ring off? I was left thinking, "That's it? All's forgiven? They're going to breakfast? WTF?"

I am ambivalent about this book. I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars. It could easily have been a 5 if Hilderbrand had put as much rich detail and development into the relationship between Thatcher and Adrienne as she did into describing the inner workings of The Blue Bistro. Also, it would have helped if Thatcher had grown a pair.
Profile Image for Brady Lockerby.
46 reviews15.3k followers
July 25, 2023
If you enjoyed The Hotel Nantucket, you’ll like this one! Very upbeat and fast paced story about a restaurant, it’s owners, employees, customers, and all of the drama that comes along with it! Wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but overall a really great story that I enjoyed and didn’t want to put down
Profile Image for Allison Floyd.
496 reviews57 followers
April 27, 2012
Every so often I like to pretend I'm an open-minded person. So, one day, when I am innocently shelving this book in the course of my library duties, and for some reason it catches my eye, I check it out and think to myself, why not? I almost never read this kind of thing, so why not try something that goes against my grain? After all, I reason, as a writer, shouldn't I read as widely and voraciously as possible, including stuff I wouldn't normally?

And hey, I like mental mashed potatoes, fluffy and overladen with butter, as much as the next guy. Who doesn't need the occasional (or frequent!) reprieve from, well, thinking? But man, oh man. This was insipid, even as insipid fare goes. The protagonist, Adrienne, is a nonentity who evidently looks good swathed in silk and sipping champagne. There is endless and deeply irritating talk about teeth (Adrienne's father is a dentist), and Adrienne's email correspondence—and face-to-face interactions, and hell, her whole relationship—with her father will have you wanting to toss your cookies. Of course she has the requisite dead mother. And of course someone else important is dying. Human Tragedy. Where would we be without it? Certainly not on a Nantucket beach, looking gorgeous in silks and sipping champagne.

That said, I saw this through to the bitter end, which is unusual for me, especially when a book makes me grind my teeth (sorry, Dr. Don) as much as this one did. There must be a reason for this. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for food porn. Maybe because the character of Fiona was alright. Maybe it's because instant mashed potatoes don't come close to homemade (represented in this genre, I guess, by Maeve Binchy), but they're still mashed potatoes, so suck it up, pile on the butter, and clean your plate.

Okay, now, back to the Tolstoy.
Profile Image for kim-d.
5 reviews
November 14, 2010
I really liked this book...until I got to the last few pages. It ended so abruptly and not in keeping with the rest of the book...it was like the author got sick of writing it and just wanted to end it as quickly as possible. It was a fairly lengthy book, so why not add a few more pages and have a more well-developed ending; I think it would have been worth it.

With Elin Hilderbrand books, you always pretty much know what you're going to get but, since this one was set in a restaurant, it was a little different and I liked that. I had a picture in my mind of what The Blue Bistro looked like, from the author's description.
2 reviews
August 9, 2012
I have read quite a few books by this author and normally really love reading them. This book was quite different for me. The plot being focused on the restaurant and food became tiresome as the book progressed. Also, I did not find myself rooting for the main characters to be together. A guy who is controlling, deceiptful, and doesn't drink but requires you to get drunk is not a good person for you to be around. Also, he takes her to dinner but doesn't eat - weird! At the end of the book I found myself rooting for her to have the courage to stay away from him!
Profile Image for Tif.
472 reviews
August 6, 2011
I actually LOVED the restaurant aspect of this book. The author did an amazing job of describing the ambiance, the food, the patrons and the staff. It made me want to cook gourmet food and eat at gourmet restaurants. The "love" story on the other hand was forced, under-developed, annoying and unbelievable. I didn't like the male lead character at all--ever. This would have been an excellent book if the author stuck to the restaurant drama alone and steered clear of the love story.

This was a romance novel ruined by the romance. For once I was cheering for them to NOT end up together.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,509 reviews29.4k followers
December 5, 2020
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Elin Hilderbrand's The Blue Bistro is an utterly satisfying look at the drama and romance that occur at a popular Nantucket restaurant in its last season.

Adrienne has rarely stayed in one place too long. She and her father moved a lot when she was younger, she drifted among a few different colleges on her way to a degree, and she has worked in some leading hotels throughout the world. But she’s not really sure what she wants from life, career-wise or relationship-wise.

When she winds up in Nantucket without a clue as to what her next job will be, she has a chance meeting with Thatcher Smith, the owner of The Blue Bistro, perhaps the hottest restaurant on the island. This encounter lands her a job as assistant manager of the restaurant, despite not having any restaurant experience. She’s immediately thrown into a different world, full of people with outsized egos and expectations, and while it's exhausting, she loves every minute of it.

She and Thatcher are immediately drawn to each other, and while Adrienne feels herself surrendering, she also has too many questions. What really is Thatcher’s relationship with Fiona, his business partner and the chef at the restaurant? Why would a restaurant at the top of its game close? And more importantly, should she trust her heart or listen to her head?

This is the third of Elin Hilderbrand’s books I’ve read, and this one was recommended by a few friends. I was hooked instantly and once again, stayed up late to finish it. She definitely knows how to immerse you in her stories!!

I totally want to go to Nantucket and I was drooling over the descriptions of the food at the restaurant. Having waited tables a few times in my life, I’m a big fan of books about chefs and restaurants and the food business. Couple that with a great but dramatic story, and this was another winner for Hilderbrand!!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,042 followers
October 1, 2021
In some ways, not a whole lot happens in this novel, in which Adrienne becomes a hostess at exclusive Nantucket restaurant. She’s had several years of experience working in hotels in resort towns, but working in the high-paced frenzy of a restaurant frequented by demanding rich people and celebrities is a trial-by-fire situation made even more complicated when she falls for Thatcher, half-owner of The Blue Bistro. The other half is the well-regarded chef, Thatcher’s best friend from childhood, Fionna. His relationship with Fionna is troubling to Adrienne even though she believes it is in fact platonic; it’s still a huge pull away from their budding relationship.

Anyone who has worked in a restaurant will have flashbacks. For me they were of the PTSD variety, although maybe if I’d been pulling in the amount of money Adrienne does, I’d have fonder memories. This isn’t my favorite Elin Hilderbrand novel, but I do like the way Adrienne’s romance is only a part of her growth over this particular summer.
Profile Image for Kathleen Crowell.
1,256 reviews1 follower
November 15, 2011
Okay, I just didn't get the obsessive friendship between Fiona and Thatcher. It sure seemed one-sided--all on Thatcher's side. I felt for Fiona, who wouldn't but show a little something--ANYTHING that resembles warmth or friendship. Sure I get really strong, solid friendship--but why did this friendship have to be sooo dramatic to the exclusion of all else for Thatcher? That said, there were some really touching moments between Thatcher and Adrienne--not fully developed, but I felt them. I was totally not getting the whole priest/AA bit--falling off the wagon was pretty cliche and getting married at the end was just not necessary. The best most "true" part of this book was the depiction of the menu and the busy restaurant life. Didn't like the ending it was missing something for me--more detail or something--kind of blah.
Profile Image for Myrna.
713 reviews
May 17, 2016
Another great beach read by this author. The Nantucket setting, a little romance and a slight mystery makes this a charming chick-lit book. I was not expecting to read the ins and outs of the restaurant business but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 3+ stars but not quite 4.
Profile Image for Emily.
92 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2011
Definitly a fluffy beach read (unrealistic in many ways). Has anyone been to a restaurant where employees are told to drink during the job? Some more restaurant research might have been helpful (having worked in restaurants this really irked me). Some of the writing got a little annoying after a while (phrases like "love. love. love." And last but not least it seems the author spent too much time describing food that she plum forgot to give the book an ending. Oops!

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Taury.
553 reviews122 followers
April 30, 2023
I have had the worst book month. But The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand put me back on track. My brain is crammed reading books for work, learning new paperwork and all the stress that comes with a new job. Blue Bistro was exactly what I needed for a great Chick Lit book.
5 reviews
April 5, 2012
Quick Summary - The Blue Bistro follows a woman with a transient lifestyle as a hotel concierge who starts a job as a Nantucket restaurant assistant manager after being left penniless by her scumbag boyfriend. Over the course of the novel she learns the ways of the restaurant world, rubs shoulders with important and wealthy Nantucket residents, makes friends, and finds love.

The Blue Bistro is an okay beach read - I went in with exactly those expectations and, after the slow-ish start up, was fairly entertained for the majority of the book. The best parts were by far centered around Adrienne's (main character) shifts in the restaurant, which are well-written in Hilderbrand's fast paced style. I have to say that the underlying "mystery" is INCREDIBLY weak, bordering on pathetic. Within the first couple chapters readers have solved this "mystery" and it's really not that earth-shattering. The love story is expected, predictable, and (while fun to read) slightly boring. Overall, if not for the restaurant moments this book would have been a dud. There are so many beach reads out there that it's not necessary to clutter your bookshelf with this one!
Profile Image for Kelly Renee.
29 reviews17 followers
June 20, 2013
My coworker recommended that I read this because it was her favorite book (...) and I would like to say that I was relieved that it wasn't the typical beach, romance novel I was expecting from Hilderbrand (and the cover art. This novel was truly focused on the restaurant industry, with a very subtle and non-obtrusive romance going on in the background. The reason I gave this 2 stars instead of the 3 I was planning on giving it as a simple, easy book that I amused me, is my issue with the main character.

Maybe I'm the grinch but the main character (Adrienne) and Thatcher's "love" developed way too fast and was "grounded" on a really shitty foundation of unspoken issues that were never truly resolved.When the novel ended with her caving and getting back together with him without resolving anything, I was frustrated. This book makes love seem like a terrible idea which was not what I was expecting from a book like this.
Profile Image for Jean.
30 reviews5 followers
February 28, 2012
This isn't one of Elin Hilderbrand's better works. The plot doesn't seem to go anywhere. Too many characters are introduced without being properly developed and too many detailed descriptions of cooking and waitressing make the book boring and unwieldy. The protagonists are unappealing as well - Adrienne is bitchy, Thatcher has low EQ, and the supposed romance between JZ and Fiona has too much melodrama and no heart. I couldn't finish this.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
July 15, 2015
Title: "Blue Bistro" (a Nantucket Novel - stand alone)
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Published: GoodReads shows dates in both 2005 & 2006; I need to follow up on the actual US date.
Genre: fiction, adult fiction, drama, romance, ? Chick-lit, ? Beach read.
Read: April 19-20, 2012
Format: ebook via Nook Color ereader by Barnes and Noble.

My GoodReads rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Brief remarks:

Yet another instance of me longing for half stars! lol... I give this novel a very solid 4.5, though it is "on the bubble" of five for me.

Mrs. Hilderbrand is an excellent writer with a unique story telling method. Although I typically prefer an intense murder/thriller/mystery or a soft, quick-to-read and always happily ending romance, I find myself drawn to her books.

I am not sure how the booksellers (or the author herself), classify this book; I think I am dubbing it as a "drama". I guess that is likely my own fictional category, but I really feel it is a good way to describe it.

"The Blue Bistro" is a story that covers family dynamics, island living, chronic illness, happiness and heartbreak. (I do not believe in "spoilers" therefore always limit what I share.).

I do recommend this book, as well as this author, to almost anyone despite one's typical preferences, like those I mentioned for myself. This story reads smoothly, the characters are well developed and there is enough "action" to hold one's interest easily.

Off course, this is all subjective/in my opinion, but if you are reading my little blurb here I think you will enjoy the book. I usually only post when I find a book really good or really disappointing! :D

Enjoy fellow reading fans!

Happy Spring and cheers,
Lisa aka: NurseLisainOhio (GoodReads, Twitter & instagram username)
Profile Image for Linda ~ *Chatcozy* on semi-hiatus.
1,208 reviews15 followers
September 21, 2021
I picked this book up to read every time I had a spare minute! I never would have thought the inside workings of the management and staff at a gourmet restaurant would capture my attention so quickly, but it did. The staff moved at a grueling pace. The food descriptions made me hungry. The love story develops over time between Adrienne and Thatcher, and it’s messy and emotional. Fiona’s story is heartbreaking. The way the staff are like a dysfunctional family who love each other despite themselves also tugged at my heartstrings. After reading this early story penned by Author Hilderbrand I can clearly see why she is at the top of her genre.
24 reviews
January 9, 2009
Took this on a flight recently - perfectly light and digestible - just what I needed to while away 17 hours in the air. Set in Nantucket, story centers around the Blue Bistro, her staff and her patrons. Just enough romance without being too gushy. I will look for more Elin Hilderbrand to read during the summer (as I think she is the perfect author to read while you are laying in the sun).
Profile Image for Zach.
218 reviews17 followers
September 26, 2018
I was fortunate enough to get to meet Elin Hilderbrand at a book signing and meet and greet last night at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She was just as friendly and wonderful as I would have expected. It was great to hear how she grew up around here in Collegeville and spent her summers in Ocean City prior to discovering the beaches of Nantucket. While fielding questions, the revealed that The Blue Bistro was her favorite book out of all her works (something that I already knew and why it has been on my summertime reading list) and I can easily tell why. It was one of my favorite stories of hers and I did not want it to end. The Blue Bistro as well as Adrienne, Thatcher, Fiona and the rest of the staff and guests drew me in and made we want to visit Nantucket even more than I already do. Alas, there is no actual Blue Bistro but at least there are more Elin Hilderbrand novels!
68 reviews2 followers
May 19, 2008
Elin Hilderbrand is such a wonderful writer. I seriously could not put this book down and read it in a day. I loved reading about Nantucket and the high-end restaurant business--the employees were like a real family. Adrienne, Thatcher and Finoa were great characters--I want to know more! This is recommended!
Profile Image for Judy.
94 reviews41 followers
August 18, 2013
Loved it!! I still think about those crackers they ate at night!
Profile Image for Jillian.
967 reviews66 followers
August 5, 2019
1.5 Stars. The Blue Bistro is a standalone book told in 3rd person POV. This is the first book that I have tried by this author. I don’t think I will go for a second at this time. This book is about main character Adrienne who gets screwed over by her last boyfriend and picks up and moves to another town, which is something she does anytime anything emotional happens in her life. She finds a job at The Blue Bistro, getting hired by the co-owner and love interest in the story, Thatcher. She had a great opportunity, one that she did not deserve or earn, just handed to her. The other main character in this book was The Blue Bistro itself. It really did take center stage. The restaurant stuff was all written well, but it definitely overshadowed all of the other characters in the book.

Adrienne is 28 but she acts like she is 14. She has the emotional maturity of a toddler. She is prone to temper tantrums and pouting. For example, a man offered her a ride into town on a hot day and she was upset about Thatcher and Fiona, so she kicked the guy’s glove box in his car because she was irritated. What grown woman does that? When she was giving Thatcher the silent treatment, trying to punish him, and he (HER BOSS and OWNER of the restaurant) was trying to discuss work with her, at work, she refused to look at him and stared at the ceiling until he was done talking and then stomped off. She was unbelievably immature. If I had to describe her, I would use words like: insufferable, insipid, petty, whiny, annoying, pathetic, vapid, shallow, needy, self-centered, bratty, and dumb. Her character felt very contrived. I’m not sure what the author was going for with Adrienne’s character, but she didn’t give her any growth at all. She was the same disgusting person at the beginning as she was at the end. She is very insecure. She thinks the worst of everything that is said and takes everything as a personal insult or as something negative. She overthinks pretty much everything. She is super touchy, over-sensitive, and ungrateful. Her internal dialogue was so obnoxious because she got pissy about everything that was said to her. IN addition to all of this, she is a horrible daughter. She is the only child of a wonderful, loving father. Her mother died when she was 12. Her father is a dentist and the hygienist who has worked for him since Adrienne was a young child, is his partner in life too. She was there when Adrienne’s mom was dying and helped the mom out and then even picked up the pieces after, yet Adrienne is awful to this woman, refusing to acknowledge that she is anything more than just her father’s hygienist or at most, friend. Her father and this woman have been dating for longer than her parents were married and for more than half her life. I wanted to stab her. I literally hated her so much that I was hoping she would have an accident and die.

The romance between Adrienne and Thatcher was absurd. It all happened off page. 50% in or so and they were a couple yet there was nothing to show for it. It was mentioned that Thatcher stayed over at her house each night, but it is mentioned in passing. How did this relationship develop? And they love each other, what!?! We spent more time flashing back to all of her prior relationships than we did seeing anything about Adrienne and Thatcher.

I know a lot of people who read this book couldn’t get on board with the close friendship between Thatcher and Fiona. I was not one of those people. I totally understood it. I didn’t have any problems with it. They weren’t blood related, but they were family. Practically soul mates. They had been best friends for over 30 years. Adrienne knew Thatcher for all of 3 weeks and was laying claim like she was more important than Fiona. It was absurd and out of line. And the woman was sick, for goodness sake. Adrienne did not deserve Thatcher.

Fiona and Mario were my two favorite characters in this book. Ironically, neither are main characters. Most of the characters are one dimensional, with exception of Fiona. All the characters are underdeveloped, the only part that wasn’t was the stuff about the restaurant.

The author tried to squeeze as much in this one summer as she could. Too much in fact. Adrienne and Thatcher were telling each other they loved the other within a few weeks. There was a new mansion that was completely framed within 2 weeks after having torn down the previous huge building the two weeks prior to that. It was all a bit over the top. A lot of things just didn’t quite add up. Don’t get me started on the money and the fact that she made at least $500, often more, in tips every single night as the hostess and assistant manager. Those people must really like to throw their money around considering everyone working there also made huge nightly tips like that.

There was a ridiculous amount of filler in this book. When it wasn’t several minutes at a time spent on food or drink descriptions, the author spent so much time flashing back to past relationships and past moments that I think she completely forgot to write an ending for this book. Or maybe she ran out of time or space? Either way, the book literally just ends. No resolution, no epilogue, nothing. In fact, some of the side stories in this book weren’t even resolved. For example, we spent so much time discussing the upcoming wedding of her father and whether she would act like an adult and show up to the wedding and nothing more gets said about it. I’m not okay with that.

At times this book was tedious to listen to because the narrator has to read all of the stuff that the reader would quickly skim or just skip over, such as the multitude of email correspondence that took place between Adrienne and her father and Adrienne and her friend. Each time, we had to hear the entire email addresses, to and from, and the date and time sent. In addition to that, there were menus and food descriptions, such as the first 3-4 minutes of this audiobook was a menu being read line by line, price by price. Of course, that was not the narrator’s fault.

The narrator did a great job. She was actually the best part about this book. She had good voices, tone, and pronunciation. Her pacing was a bit slow at times but that is easily solved by speeding up the audiobook.

There were parts that I enjoyed about this book but it most centered around the restaurant and the employees working. The main character pretty much ruined everything else. She was really an awful character. Because of that, I can’t in good faith recommend this to anyone. Maybe if someone is interested in a Nantucket restaurant book, but even then I would preface my recommendation with a disclaimer.
Profile Image for Heather.
100 reviews42 followers
November 15, 2012
When I first started reading this book, I didn't love it. I thought the description of all the restaurant activity was unnecessary. I kept wondering, "Where is this GOING?" Also, the boss in the story irritated me by not only encouraging his assistant manager to drink, but practically forcing her to drink while she worked. Why would a recovering alcoholic who has to attend AA meetings push alcohol onto someone he cares about?

But I kept reading.

Eventually, the boss grew on me by his undying and completely loving friendship with his sick friend, also the head chef. I grew to appreciate all the details about the restaurant because it made the book feel valid, credible, and sensory. I still don't understand the promotion of excessive drinking, but...

It made me mad. It made laugh. It made me cry.

It deserves four stars.
Profile Image for Bev Weidner.
95 reviews355 followers
February 17, 2021
GAAAAAH. It was luscious. Gave me some vague Dirty Dancing vibes, but in a restaurant. If that makes sense. Loved it!
Profile Image for Jonna Rubin.
Author 1 book59 followers
February 6, 2014
Eh, had I read this in a day, fine. I read it over several, because I don't have the time to finish a book in a day in winter. Or ever, but let's pretend it's a winter thing.

For a beach read, this would have been fine. For a regular read, ugh. Thatcher sucked. His relationship with Fiona was just flat-out weird. Yes, he was devoted to her. Fine. But the devotion took a weird turn and never really rallied to normal levels after that. "I love you, Adrienne." Great. "But I love Fiona, too." What? No, that's weird. I get that she's your friend and she's sick and whatever, but good lord, that was fucking weird.

Adrienne, too. The appeal eluded me. The only thing that made this book worthwhile was the description of the food, the restaurant, the restaurant employees. Brilliantly realistic and enjoyable. The actual plot was not.

This month, I have made a promise to myself to only read books that I already own or have been lent in hard copy. If they're all like this, February is going to last an eternity.
Profile Image for Nancy Fulton.
110 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2021
Wow. Really surprised how much I did not like this book. Way too many details about the restaurant, on and on, every menu item, detailed descriptions of the food...
We have Thatcher, the selfish rich restaurant owner who I never rooted for throughout the story.
Next, Fiona, the sick chef, who also has no nice qualities, is not nice to anyone, and I also had no empathy for.
I finished this book because I hate not finishing a book but do not waste your time.
I did not feel one ounce of romance between Adrienne and Thatcher and honestly felt no emotion toward any of the characters...maybe Adrienne... a little?
Not even sure how this is a romance.
Very surprised. I normally love Hilderbrand’s books.
Profile Image for Toni.
659 reviews202 followers
December 28, 2018
Beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful! Definitely read or listen to this early bestseller of Elin’s. I’m just wondering what took me so long.

PS. The answer: my daughter was a junior in HS at the time of publication and applying to colleges. Anyone familiar with this type of torture will understand. 😬
Profile Image for Hanna Bastin.
10 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2020
I want to cry this book was so beautiful. One of Elin’s best in my opinion. I was hooked from the very beginning and loved the story set around the upscale restaurant- The Blue Bistro. I also need to admire her for shedding light on Cystic Fibrosis throughout this book. She uses a great platform to raise awareness to such a terrible disease.
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