The beautiful day in this interesting, deeply insightful, often moving and sometimes funny novel by Elin Hilderbrand, involves the Nantucket wedding of the hopeful young couple, Jenna Carmichael and Stuart James Graham. The novel occurs over an intense four days of reunion and plans. Kindle version at Amazon.
If the name had not already been successfully utilized by Sparks, the title could have easily been The Notebook, as a crucial journal left by the bride's mother becomes a significant character in itself. Beth, who tragically passed away years earlier—before the bride and groom even met—has left as her legacy, an almost excruciatingly detailed directive of the day's plans; absolutely everything, from colour scheme, dresses, table napkins, the menu, and even somethings borrowed and blue.
Perhaps due to either devotion or guilt, not to sully her loving mother's memory or discount her wishes for her daughter's perfect day, Jenna follows every instruction to the letter. The reader is unsure if she even has any dreams, wishes, plans or ideas of her own.
As the families and their friends descend and settle in on the island paradise, rivalries erupt, old wounds fester and bleed, and new ones are forged. On the flip side, there is an intensity of love, devotion, loyalty, and the test of strength of real family.
Beautiful Day is a well written, deeply layered and emotionally intricate novel. Nothing superficial about it, Beautiful Day is as easily about relationships as it is about the wedding. Having many surprises, it captivates and pulls you in as you learn about the characters and their very complicated lives.
The “Outtakes” sections feel a bit inserted, but all in all, Beautiful Day is very enjoyable and highly recommended.