15 Best Books by Elin Hilderbrand: Pick Up Your Next Beach Read Today!

Our collection of the best books by Elin Hilderbrand will keep you turning page after page as the author immerses you in historical and modern romance stories.

American romance author Elin Hilderbrand is known for writing spicy beach reads that allow readers to immerse themselves in the worlds of her characters. Growing up, the author spent her summers on Cape Cod, which inspired her writing. When she was sixteen, her father passed away, and her summers on the Cape were no more. After spending a summer working in a factory, she promised herself that for the rest of her life, her goal would be to have a real summer – and she made it happen by writing about oceanside love stories.

Coined “the queen of beach reads” by New York Magazine in 2019, Hilderbrand’s novels are perfect for kicking back while listening to the waves. You’ll want to toss the books in this guide into your beach bag before you hit the shore this summer. As one of the best-known authors, Hilderbrand is a writer everyone will love!

1. Summer of ‘69

Summer of ‘69
Summer of ‘69 is Elin Hilderbrand’s best-selling novel

Summer ‘69 follows the Levin family through an unforgettable summer. A mother of four, Kate struggles with her marriage and managing her children’s lives. Her children struggle in their personal lives, and Kate tries to navigate these ups and downs throughout the novel. Her youngest daughter can’t wait to get out of Nantucket, much to the dismay of her mother and grandmother.

On top of everything else happening in her life, Kate knows she’s drinking too much and trying to control it alone. You’ll love this engrossing escape from the real world as you start to see each of the Levins as real people with real problems. You might also be interested in our list of authors like Nancy Thayer.

“Kirby has learned that no one can judge a relationship except for the two people in it.”

Elin Hilderbrand, Summer of ’69
Sale
Summer of '69
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Erin Bennett (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/18/2019 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

2. The Island

The Island
The Island tackles themes of friendship, parenthood, and lost love

In The Island, a canceled summer wedding throws the Cousins family into a tailspin as they work to navigate the details of an upheaval they never expected in this 2010 novel. As protagonist Birdie works to figure out why her daughter, Chess, unexpectedly called off her wedding, she’s also faced with her own personal issues. Birdie’s 30-year marriage is no more, and she’s sad to break from her first shot at love following her divorce.

Together, Birdie and Chess join two other female family members to enjoy a summer on Tuckernuck Island, just off the coast of Nantucket. Without phones, TV, and drama, they can fully escape their troubles – or so they hoped. While their summer was peaceful, old issues (and lovers) creep up one by one.

“Drama followed Chess around like a smell. Some people, Tate had learned, were like that, and it was for people like her to sit and watch the show.”

Elin Hilderbrand, The Island
The Island: A Novel
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Denice Hicks (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/06/2010 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

3. A Summer Affair

A Summer Affair
A Summer Affair is a thrilling romance novel

In A Summer Affair, you’ll follow Claire – a woman who has struggled to say no to anyone for her entire life. Whether it’s her husband, her children, or her clients (she’s a successful artist), she puts everyone else’s needs before hers, often to her detriment. She’s asked to head a committee to put on the largest annual social event in Nantucket, and as usual, she’s happy to say yes.

She begins planning the event and works closely with a local billionaire. While she’s no stranger to rubbing elbows with the uber-wealthy, she’s surprised she feels a spark with someone other than her husband. While struggling to ignore how he makes her feel and finds things quickly getting out of hand. She struggles to live in limbo when deciding what step to take next. Hilderbrand’s twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see where Claire ends up.

“All her life, Claire had had a problem figuring out where other people ended and she began. All her life, she’d taken on the world’s hurt; she held herself responsible. But why?”

Elin Hilderbrand, A Summer Affair
A Summer Affair: A Novel
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Isabel Keating (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/01/2008 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

4. The Beach Club

The Beach Club
The Beach Club is a popular novel with drama, romance, and unexpected twists

In The Beach Club, Hilderbrand once again takes readers to a summer in Nantucket to follow the ups and downs of life at Nantucket Beach Club. On the island, drama, love, and anger ensue between staff members. The hotel manager struggles to keep his job when the owner shows up and demands that he does things differently from how he’s been running the club for the past 12 years.

Bellman Vance has a vendetta against the manager, believing he stole his job over a decade ago. The new front desk receptionist, Love, has baby fever and is searching for someone to make her dream come true. The staff is forced to work through their differences as a hurricane approaches the shore, risking their livelihood.

“Nobody knows where it comes from, and nobody knows where it goes.’ Love doesn’t make sense most of the time and that’s what’s so wonderful about it.”

Elin Hilderbrand, The Beach Club
The Beach Club: A Novel
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Christina Delaine (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/19/2013 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Audio (Publisher)

5. The Blue Bistro

The Blue Bistro
The Blue Bistro is a heart-pounding romance ideal for beach reading

The Blue Bistro follows the life of Adrienne, who has spent years working in resort towns, enjoying summer while getting the experience of what it’s like to work in a top-notch hotel. Adrienne finds herself in a tricky financial situation when her boyfriend leaves unexpectedly, and she calls Nantucket home for the summer.

The owner of one of the island’s most in-demand restaurants offers her a job, but she’s still determining if she can hack it without food industry experience. There’s a clear attraction between the two, and Adrienne is left to decide whether she will run on to the next location (per usual) or stick around and see whether she has something worth staying put for.

“He has never known a woman so free from conceit, vanity, ambition, pretense. He has never known a woman so willing to show the world that she is a human being.”

Elin Hilderbrand, The Blue Bistro
The Blue Bistro
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Christina Delaine (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/21/2012 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Audio (Publisher)

6. The Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple
The Perfect Couple is an exhilarating murder mystery novel

The Perfect Couple is Hilderbrand’s first murder mystery novel. At the height of the Nantucket wedding season, vacationers are shocked when the body of the bride’s best friend washes up in the harbor just a few hours before the Otis-Winbury nuptials are set to take place. Everyone at the wedding party is a suspect.

As the chief of police interviews everyone in the family, including the groom’s mother, a famous mystery writer, it’s clear that there’s far more to each family than meets the eye. The variety of points of view in the novel will allow you to see the story from a new angle constantly, and Hilderbrand, as usual, keeps readers on their toes.

“The moment their eyes meet, the moment their hands touch. That certainty. That recognition. You. You are the one. This is what it feels like. Nothing, as it turns out, can take the place of love.”

Elin Hilderbrand, The Perfect Couple
The Perfect Couple
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Erin Bennett (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/19/2018 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

7. Winter Street

Winter Street is a heart-warming Christmas novel

Winter Street follows the story of Kelley Quinn, the owner of a Nantucket inn. As the father of three sons and one daughter, Kelley finds himself excited about getting the family together for Christmas. Despite their lives in varying states of disarray. When Kelley walks in on his wife kissing someone else at the inn’s Christmas party, the family descends into chaos. Various love triangles aren’t the only thing that plagues the inn during the holiday season – the Quinn family also has to deal with a surprise pregnancy, a house fire, a federal crime, and more. 

“With this in mind, Ava tells herself to be present and celebrate the holiday instead of wishing it over. After all, one is given only a certain number of Christmases in one’s life.”

Elin Hilderbrand, Winter Street
Winter Street
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Elin Hilderbrand (Author) - Erin Bennett (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/14/2014 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

8. Winter in Paradise

Winter in Paradise
Winter in Paradise is a popular beach read amongst fans of romance novels

Winter In Paradise is perfect for a beach read or to enjoy while snuggled up under blankets and watching the snowfall. This novel follows Irene Steele, an Iowa City woman deeply in love with her husband and can’t get enough of his over-the-top romantic gestures. She’s devastated when he unexpectedly passes away, and she’s faced with unraveling the bizarre details of her husband’s death, which took place in the Caribbean.

Irene and her family are shocked when they arrive on the island to discover that their family patriarch has been living a double life. Irene’s heartbreak at her husband’s lies is intertwined with her excitement at becoming a part of the island’s rich culture. Readers will find that they’re rooting for Irene and her sons as they work through their devastation at the hands of the person they trusted most.

“She had lived in eight different countries growing up and had visited dozens of others…She longed to live in America, preferably the solid, unchanging, undramatic Midwest, and attend a real high school, the kind shown in movies, complete with a football team, cheerleaders, pep rallies, chemistry labs, summer reading lists, hall passes, proms, detentions, assemblies, fund-raisers, lockers, Spanish clubs, marching bands, and the dismissal bell.”

Elin Hilderbrand, Winter in Paradise
Defense Reform and Technology: Tactical Aircraft
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Herzog, Serge B. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 05/30/1994 (Publication Date) - Praeger (Publisher)

9. Summerland

Summerland
Summerland follows Nantucket High students as they navigate tragedy

When the high school students of Nantucket High meet on the beach for a bonfire, tragedy strikes. Penny Alistair is killed in a car crash, leaving behind her boyfriend and friend to suffer the emotional aftermath. What follows is a tale of secrets and heartbreak with plenty of romance. Hilderbrand published Summerland in 2012. It is a short book, making it ideal for taking to the oceanside for a summer trip.

“What happened when we died? How were we to know that death wasn’t as profound an adventure as life was?”

Elin Hilderbrand, Summerland

No products found.

10. The Matchmaker

The Matchmaker
Book cover image for The Matchmaker

Dabney Kimball Beech is well-known as a matchmaker, setting up successful matches with over 40 couples on Nantucket Island. Yet when her long-lost love returns to the island, she must decide if she will perform her match. In the end, she faces a race against her mortality. The Matchmaker was published in 2014. Like many of her books, this one is not afraid to dip into the world of affairs, as the main character is married yet unfulfilled.

“Sometimes you regret the things you do, but they’re over and done. Regretting the things you didn’t do is tougher because they’re still out there…haunting you. The what-ifs.”

Elin Hilderbrand, The Matchmaker
The Matchmaker: A Novel
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 11/23/2021 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

11. Nantucket Nights

Nantucket Nights
Nantucket Nights follows three best friends who encounter a dangerous event

Nantucket Nights tells the story of three best friends who meet once a year to swim in the ocean under the stars. Yet on this particular summer night, one of them does not return. This opens the door to a web of secrets and connections that make this one of the best Elin Hilderbrand novels. 

This book has fewer characters than some of the other books by the best-selling author. Yet the story remains intertwined in the way that Hilderbrand fans have come to expect. Nantucket Nights was published in 2002. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best fantasy authors!

“It was popular to believe that things only happened on Nantucket during the summer. Summer was a slice of heaven, but the same was true for the rest of the year on the island, and Kayla felt sorry for anyone who missed the days of October.”

Elin Hilderbrand, Nantucket Nights
Nantucket Nights: A Novel
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 05/12/2009 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

12. Golden Girl

Golden Girl
Golden Girl is a captivating novel about life after death

Golden Girl is a story beyond the realms of reality as we know it. This novel tells the story of Vivian Howe, an author and loving mother of three who suddenly dies in a hit-and-run accident. When Vivian ascends to the Beyond, she watches on as life continues without her.

Although this novel touches on some difficult subject matter like death, betrayal, and secrets, it also has a light and loving storyline as a mother watches her children grow up from Beyond. With all of Hilderband’s signatures – delicious meals, beach scenes, and idealistic lifestyle goals, fans will love this different take on life after death.

“The aesthetics of that dinner had been sheer perfection. The dining room was lit only by candles; there was a bouquet of iris on the table; the restaurant smelled of butter garlic, veal stock, freshly baked bread.”

Golden Girl, Elin Hilderbrand

13. The Castaways

The Castaways
The Castaways follows a group of friends who lose loved ones in a tragic accident

The Castaways looks at some of the hardest things a person can go through in life. When a close-knit group of friends embark on a boating expiration, tragedy strikes, and two of the group’s leading members die, leaving behind two orphaned twins. When the friendship group comes to terms with what has happened, they begin to try and navigate their new life – without their best friends. With themes of grief, love, friendship, and tragedy, this novel pulls on readers’ heartstrings from the first page to the last.

“He could not call his wife and drop the bomb that would destroy the landscape of her life. Her first cousin, her closest friend- a person Andrea held dearer, possibly, than himself – Tess MacAvoy, was dead.”

The Castaways, Elin Hilderbrand

14. The Identicals

The Identicals
The Identical is a popular novel following much-loved characters Tabitha and Harper Frost

The Identicals follows identical twins Tabitha and Harper Frost as they navigate an unexpected family crisis. Both twins are fiercely independent and have worked to become individuals – they’re not as close as we might think identical twins would be. During the crisis, the twins must confront their issues and work together despite their differences. This heart-warming novel tackles themes of identity, sibling relationships, forgiveness, and the power of family.

“Billy’s death warrants another phone call, but Harper is too angry to conduct one civilly. Did Tabitha deign to listen to the message? Did she come visit? Has she set for on the Vineyard even once since the death of her son, Julian, fourteen years ago? She has not.”

The Identicals, Elin Hilderbrand

15. Here’s To Us

Here's To Us
Here’s To Us is a heart-warming novel about family coming together to grieve

Here’s To Us is an intriguing novel that follows Laurel Thrope, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver – who have all been married to the same man. Deacon Thorpe is a celebrity chef; he is talented, handsome, and charismatic – that’s why it comes as such a shock when he takes his own life.

After the catastrophe, all three women must come together to see out his final wish: to have his entire family (wives, children, and all) return to his favorite place on Earth: Nantucket. With everyone under one roof, getting along will not be easy. But as secrets are revealed, bonds and friendships begin to form as they say goodbye to the man they all loved dearly.

“Six weeks had passed, but John Buckley still couldn’t believe that his first-ever client and his best friend, Deacon Thorpe – the most famous chef in America – was dead.”

Here’s To Us, Elin Hilderbrand

FAQs About the Best Books by Elin Hilderbrand

What should I read if I like Elin Hilderbrand?

What should I read if I like Elin Hilderbrand?
1. Emily Griffin
2. Jennifer Weiner
3. Rebecca Serle
4. Carley Fortune

What is the order of the Elin Hilderbrand books?

If you want to read Elin Hilderbrand’s books, it is best to pick a series and read them in order of publication. The series options include:
1. Nantucket Series (A Summer Affair, The Castaways, The Perfect Couple)
2. Winter Series (Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, Winter Solstice)
3. Paradise Series (Winter in Paradise, What Happens in Paradise, Troubles in Paradise)

After these, you can move on to her standalone books in order of publication, starting with The Beach Club and finishing with her newest novel, The Hotel Nantucket.

What is Elin Hilderbrand’s best-selling book?

Summer of ‘69 is Hilderbrand’s best-selling book and is a fan favorite amongst her loyal readers.

Should you read Elin Hilderbrand’s books in order?

It’s best to read Elin Hilderbrand’s books in order if they are part of a series such as the Winter Street, Nantucket, and Paradise series. However, you can also pick up any of her books and enjoy it without reading the previous ones, but having the background and insight into previous events will make the story more enjoyable.

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best Cuban authors!

Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.