Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
I've been a Hilderbrand fan since first reading A Love Season. But I haven't as thoroughly enjoyed some of her recent works. I read a sample of this book on my Kindle and didn't feel entirely pulled in. I thought to myself: am I really going to be drawn in to a story about a wife of a Madoff figure? But my mother called and highly recommended this novel, so I happily delved into the copy I got from the library.
I finished the novel in one day, and closed it feeling sated and happy. My mother was not wrong.
At the heart of this story isn't the relationship between Meredith Delinn and her Madoff-like husband, Freddy. Instead the novel focuses on Meredith's life long friendship with Connie. The two are recently estranged when Meredith turns to Connie because has no one else to turn to. Connie rescues Meredith, whisking her away from the prying eyes of the press to her beautiful beach house in Nantucket. Both women arrive in Nantucket, middle-aged and broken. Both are cut off from their former spouses and their beloved children. Both are starting anew, and trying to make sense of past mistakes. As a twenty-something, on the cusp of my life truly developing, it was fascinating to read about a woman looking back at her past and trying to pinpoint exactly where things lost control. Meredith was a golden, or should I say "silver" girl, raised to believe she would be successful and happy. Her father led her to believe that since she was brilliant and talented, she could do no wrong. It's hard to say what is Meredith's biggest misstep -- choosing Freddy, not leaving him when she had the chance, ceding control over their financial life, ignoring the life developing around her. Fascinatingly, Hilderbrand succeeds in making Meredith a deeply human character. She may have been rich and she may have been married to a psychopath, but she is a happy-go-lucky, resilient woman who seeks love and understanding.
For me this book made me think about how one decision can set a life on a totally different trajectory. Meredith, in trying to overcome her high school love, runs straight into the arms of Freddy Delinn. In the book she tells Toby the high school love): "You got me at my best. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. That was the best Meredith." It's tragic to think of someone truly believing they were the best at sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. And yet it's so easy to understand the lens through which Meredith fews her past and present.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It was thought-provoking, well-written and engaging. Can't wait to hear what others thought about the characters motivations. I still am trying to figure out some of the decisions Meredith's husband (the Madoff-figure) made.