8 Best Books by Elin Hilderbrand for Your Summer Reading List

Discover our round-up with the top eight best books by Elin Hilderbrand, and grab one of them for your next trip to the beach.

When looking for romance authors’ best sellers, chances are that books from Elin Hilderbrand will be on your list. Though not necessarily racy, these books are well-known as summer books because they are short, easy to read and engaging. She currently has 28 novels to her name, and each one has plenty of romance and a bit of mystery woven in. 

Elin Hilderbrand graduated from Johns Hopkins University, where she gained a love of writing. She published her first short story while a Senior in college, then moved to Nantucket in 1994. This setting became the setting of many of her books, and her first novel, The Beach Club, came out in 2000.

Since then, she has become a best-selling author, and Summer of ‘69, her 2019 novel, made the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list. However, after her 2024 book comes out, Hilderbrand has decided she will retire from writing and turn, instead, to being a book influencer.

1. The Blue Bistro

Heralded by reviewers as a great beach read, The Blue Bistro takes readers to the beaches of Nantucket Island, where they follow Adrienne Dealey as she moves to the coastal town to get caught up in a new restaurant job and a romance. This book hit the bookshelves in 2005. The characters in The Blue Bistro appear again in The Hotel Nantucket, one of Hilderbrand’s more recent novels.

“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: A Novel
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 05/25/2010 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

2. Summer of ‘69

Summer of ‘69 was both a historical novel and a romance novel, and it was on the New York Times bestseller list at the top spot. This book follows the Levin family as they navigate the changing culture of the late 1960s. Unlike past summers, only Jessie, the youngest, can head to Nantucket Island to spend the summer with her grandmother. This book contains the era’s details and represents Hilderbra’s first historical novel. It also shows why she is the “Queen of the Summer Novel.” She published this book in 2019.

“Sadness comes long after all of the other, more difficult and destructive emotions have passed.”

Elin Hilderbrand
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Summer of '69
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 02/11/2020 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

3. The Beach Club

Published in 2000, The Beach Club follows several dramatic stories that play out over one summer in The Nantucket Beach Club. The book covers the personal lives of several characters as they get caught up in summer romances. In addition, the author throws in the danger of a hurricane to add even more emotion to the tale. This book can be hard to read because of the many characters, but those who push through often find that they enjoy how the stories weave together by the end.

“Some people don’t like being happy. They’re much more comfortable when they have a problem.”

Elin Hilderbrand
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The Beach Club: A Novel
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 357 Pages - 05/13/2008 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

4. Summerland

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: A Novel
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 03/19/2013 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

5. Winter in Paradise

Winter in Paradise takes readers to the Caribbean beaches of St. John and is the first book in the Paradise Series. After her husband’s death, Irene Steele must travel to a tropical island to unravel what happened. Set in a naturally beautiful setting, this book is full of intrigue and deception, making it an engaging read. Published in 2018, this short book is a departure from the Nantucket scene for which author Elin Hilderbrand is so famous. Unfortunately, it ends on a cliffhanger which sends readers scrambling for books two and three, What Happens in Paradise and Trouble in Paradise.

“But the world is filled with deceptions and betrayals–nearly every life has one–and yet the sun still rises and sets, the world continues on.”

Elin Hilderbrand
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Winter in Paradise (Paradise, 1)
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 09/17/2019 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

6. 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
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The Matchmaker: A Novel
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 11/23/2021 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

7. The Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple was published in 2018. It is the last book in the Nantucket series that started with A Summer Affair, followed by Beautiful Day and The Castaways, and it is the most highly rated of the three. This book opens with Nantucket’s wedding season and preparations for the wedding of a wealthy groom and his bride. But what starts as a memorable wedding starts to go awry when a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just before the ceremony. While this read has plenty of romance, it also has its mystery.

“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
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The Perfect Couple
  • Hilderbrand, Elin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 02/12/2019 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

8. Nantucket Nights

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.

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

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.

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

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