The dampness pervades everything, and the clouds hang low, heavy with impending rain—it’s just a matter of when, not if. The fog lingers, gently caressed by a breeze. On days like these, all I crave is the comfort of a warm, hearty bowl of chowder. The soul-soothing embrace of a New England or “white” clam chowder—the creamy goodness that never fails to delight my taste buds.
Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to Here’s to Us by the talented Elin Hilderbrand. Within the story, I discovered four authentic recipes, among them, a tantalizing seafood chowder. As a chowder enthusiast, my interest was immediately piqued.
In the author’s note, Elin Hilderbrand gives credit to her dear friend, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, a renowned food writer and cookbook author, for inspiring her American Paradise Seafood Chowder. The mere mention of it conjures images of a chowder that’s thick and velvety, with the briny essence of the sea dancing on your palate. Just imagine the rich aroma of the ocean mingling with the smoky richness of bacon, complemented by the tenderness of perfectly cooked clams and the unique addition of diced tomatoes. Fresh herbs lend their magic, elevating the flavors to an exquisite symphony of taste.
I must confess, I am a devoted fan of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, and her scrumptious chowder recipe featuring Yukon gold potatoes. That has always been my go-to recipe. However, this new recipe, raved about by Elin Hilderbrand, has sparked my curiosity to embark on a culinary adventure, despite the absence of potatoes.
As I think about preparing this American Paradise Seafood Chowder, I can’t help but anticipate the sheer delight it will bring to my taste buds. I find myself daydreaming about savoring every spoonful, cocooned in the warmth of a cozy sweater while the raindrops gently patter against the windowpane. Mmm. I wish I had a bowl in front of me right now.
So, with chowder weather settling in, I am determined to set my culinary compass and venture beyond my usual recipe. I am eager to explore the culinary wonders of this American Paradise Seafood Chowder. Let’s embrace the richness of the sea and the heartwarming flavors that await us in this delightful creation. Here’s to trying new recipes and discovering the best clam chowder I’ve ever had!
Welcome to the Lit Lounge, fellow book lovers! As we find ourselves in the midst of mid-July with summer in full gear, there’s nothing quite like traveling through books, especially those that exude the essence of summer. And what better way to escape than to spend some time on the beautiful island of Nantucket within the pages of Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s To Us?
Originally released in 2016, Here’s To Us continues to hold up all these years later, drawing us into its heartfelt world of blended families, love, and the power of saying goodbye. So, let’s embark on this captivating journey and embrace the magic of a Nantucket summer! With each turn of the page, you’ll be transported to the sandy shores, feel the ocean breeze, and immerse yourself in the lives of the characters who are far more than just ink on paper. It’s like being there without the hassle of the ferry or the cost! So grab your favorite beach chair, a refreshing beverage, and prepare to get lost in the idyllic paradise of Nantucket.
Today, we’re immersing ourselves in this heartfelt tale that takes us on an emotional rollercoaster through the complexities of blended families, love, and the power of saying goodbye. Hilderbrand’s skillful storytelling and character development deserve a standing ovation. She effortlessly weaves together the lives of Deacon Thorpe and the three women he loved, along with their children, against the backdrop of Nantucket’s lazy summers. The exploration of family dynamics and the tangled web of emotions is honest and moving, leaving readers deeply connected to the characters.
The story of Here’s To Us struck a deeply personal chord with me, as I have experienced profound losses in the past two years. Saying goodbye to my mother, father, and the father of my children has been an emotional journey filled with complexities.
In her masterful storytelling, Hilderbrand beautifully captures the multidimensional nature of grief. Through the character Jess Nolan’s poignant words, “I think the best way to deal with grief is to just keep going. To keep living your life, even though it’s different now,” she eloquently depicts the essence of coping with loss. I wholeheartedly resonate with this sentiment. It serves as a compelling reminder that grief is a transformative process, and life persistently marches forward, requiring us to adapt to the changes it brings. This adaptation isn’t swift or effortless; it demands patience and a gradual healing process.
As we journey with the characters in the book, we witness the complexity of emotions they navigate, mirroring our own experiences. Hilderbrand’s portrayal of grief and its impact on relationships is raw and authentic, allowing us to find solace and understanding within the narrative. Amid sorrow, Here’s To Us delicately weaves threads of hope, reminding us that even in the face of loss, there is the potential for new beginnings and the promise of brighter days ahead. It is a story of resilience, love, and the enduring spirit that carries us through the darkest times.
Hilderbrand beautifully captures the ups and downs of family relationships, keeping readers hooked with an intense and emotionally resonant narrative. While some parts may be predictable, the book leaves a lasting impact on the reader’s heart.
I couldn’t help but notice how Hilderbrand uses the imagery of bicycles beautifully, representing a sense of freedom, possibility, and new beginnings. For me, bicycles have always screamed summertime – a reminder of carefree days spent riding my bike throughout the summer, basking in the freedom of childhood.
Throughout the story, bicycles play a significant role, often seen in the context of the three wives of Deacon Thorpe. They biked to explore the picturesque island of Nantucket, creating moments of connection and bonding. Just like the gentle breeze accompanying a bike ride on a sunny day, the spirit of these bicycles echoes the novel’s theme – embracing the joy of living, even amidst the complexities of blended families and saying goodbye.
As we delve deeper into Elin Hilderbrand’s world, we discover how these bicycles serve as a symbolic thread, weaving the characters’ lives together and reminding us of each new chapter’s endless possibilities. It’s yet another aspect of the story that adds to the overall essence of summertime and the magic that the season brings.
So, as we ride along with the characters through the pages of Here’s To Us, let’s savor those moments of freedom, relish in the exploration of new paths, and cherish the connections that bring us closer together – just like the bicycles do for the three wives on the enchanting island of Nantucket. Summer, love, and the joy of life intertwine seamlessly, creating an unforgettable journey that leaves us yearning for more.
Finally, let’s delve into the captivating portrayal of the house, ‘American Paradise,’ in Hilderbrand’s remarkable story. With an enchanting allure reminiscent of beloved classics like Rebecca and The Dutch House, this residence is elevated to the status of a character itself. The name exudes beauty, tranquility, and a world of endless possibilities. As I listened to the narrative, I couldn’t help but be entranced by the way Hilderbrand breathed life and soul into ‘American Paradise.’ Its presence within the story is like a vibrant heartbeat, reminding us of the rich tapestry of Nantucket’s history. Previously hailed as “the American Paradise” due to its breathtaking natural beauty and thriving whaling industry, Nantucket’s past echoes through the essence of this dwelling. This evocative name evokes a nostalgic longing for a simpler era and a future filled with inexplicable promise.
“It’s a home. And it’s not just a home; it’s a way of life. Our summertime happens here. This house is part of our past, it’s our present, it’ll be our future. It’s who we are.”
Elin Hilderbrand, Here’s To Us
Listening to audiobooks while working in the garden is an absolute delight. The masterful narration of Erin Bennet effortlessly brings the characters to life, making even the mundane task of weeding utterly enjoyable. With Bennet’s captivating performance, the emotions of the characters are conveyed flawlessly, immersing me completely in the intricate web of relationships in Nantucket. The combination of gardening and audiobooks is truly a winning one, transforming a tedious chore into a truly pleasurable experience. I wholeheartedly recommend indulging in this delightful audiobook journey.
Thank you for joining me at the Lit Lounge! I encourage you all to share your thoughts, comments, and recommendations for this novel. Let’s keep the bookish discussions alive and thriving. If you want to read my review of Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s To Us, head over to Goodreads for this and other books and stories. As for my personal experience with Hilderbrand’s works, I’ve only read a few of her novels so far. I’d love to hear your recommendations on which of her books I should explore next! Happy reading, everyone!
Endnote: The opinions shared in the Lit Lounge articles and recommendations are solely my own. I do not receive any compensation for endorsing specific books or products. My passion is to encourage a love for reading and listening to books, and I genuinely share my thoughts to inspire fellow book lovers. Happy reading and listening! 📚🎧