Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand; 2011
Silver Girl is a Bernie Madoff-inspired financial disaster story. Meredith Delinn’s husband Freddy was operating a Ponzi scheme and was busted. AKA he created fake reports for investors telling them they were earning huge returns, when in reality he was stealing their money. Now he’s in jail for 150 years and Meredith has lost everything – her friends, multiple homes, yacht, social standing, and even contact with her sons while she and her children are under investigation. Meredith herself is facing potential homelessness and jail time. With no one else to turn to, Meredith calls her estranged best friend Connie, who invites Meredith to stay with her at her Nantucket home for the summer.
Although this took place in Nantucket like all of Hilderbrand’s other books, there was hardly any beach action! Instead, there was way too much backstory and flashbacks. The majority of the book was Meredith and Connie in deep reveries as they reflected on how they got to this point in their lives. We get a very long saga about Meredith’s teenage relationship with Connie’s brother, Toby, and the beginnings of her relationship with Freddy at Princeton, and her subsequent marriage with Freddy. Likewise, we get detailed flashbacks of Connie’s life and her relationship with her husband Wolf, who died of brain cancer two years previously, and her troubled relationship with her 26-year-old daughter. TBH, it was sort of dull.
Overall, I think Silver Girl lacked the drama that usually gets me hooked with a Hilderbrand novel. Financial intrigue just doesn’t do it for me, and I saw the only twist coming from the very beginning – and it was so obvious that in hindsight I’m not even sure if it was intended to be a twist at all.
Other notable cons:
- Meredith was EXASPERATING. It wasn’t clear to me that she hadn’t moved on from her husband and/or hated him for what he did (I just thought that that would be a given) until the end when her son called her and was like “you need to divorce him” and Meredith was like “idk, maybe.” At which point I was like ???????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A little self-respect, Mere.
- The dramatic fight between Meredith and Connie that caused them not to speak to each other for three years is barely addressed, and not until several weeks after the friends have been alone together. Okay, sure. That’s very likely.
- Money, money, money. I found it difficult to feel sorry for characters who were multi-millionaires. Even examples of people who were scammed by Freddy were still extremely wealthy – wealthy enough to still be able to afford a summer home in Nantucket. It’s sort of eye-roll material.
All of that aside, AS USUAL I love me some Elin Hilderbrand, and even though Silver Girl wasn’t my favorite I still read it in 2 days on the beach. This book has a mysterious vandal, excellent food descriptions, and some romance, although it definitely takes a backseat compared to other Hilderbrand books.