Publishing year: 2015
Elin Hilderbrand is an author I love, and I have never been disappointed with her novels.
This new book has already gripped my attention, and I love the plot and the characters. Every chapter is focused on one of the characters.
The book starts in May. We are first introduced to Madeline, who is married to Trevor and mother of sixteen-year-old Brick. Madeline is a writer, but now she is going through a writer’s block. Madeline comes from California, and there is an event in her past that marked her youth. During high school she was dating a guy who was bad news as he made money by selling drugs. The universities that she hoped to be accepted by refused her, and the only one who offered her a place was Florida, which was her last choice. Her boyfriend was all for going to Florida because he thought he could transfer his seedy business there. Madeline decided not to go to Florida then and break up with him. Then, the boyfriend kidnapped her and had her tied up, gagged, and locked on the basement for seventy-two hours. Then the police caught him and he was sent to jail. This event still gives her nightmares. After the terrible ordeal she went to a writing retreat on Nantucket where she met her husband Trevor, who is a pilot, and where she started her writing career.
Melanie’s best friend is Grace, who is married to Eddie and has two twin daughters, Hope and Allegra. At this point of her life Grace feels undervalued by her family and lonely. The previous year she hired a landscape architect, Benton Coe, who she has a crutch on. Now after travelling for a few months, Benton returns and Grace is over the moon. As they work on Grace’s garden, it is clear that they are attracted to each other until they kiss one day, and they can’t help each other.
Eddie, Grace’s husband, is an estate agent, and he brings good money home. Yet, now things are not going well, and Eddie is into debt. Then he is tempted to break the law. There are some Russian girls who Eddie hires to receive clients, and one of them recently hinted that he was ready to pay ten thousand dollars for one day with these girls entertaining him and his associates as if they were call girls. Eddie refused the offer then, but now that she is trouble, she calls the man and accepts, and when he calls the girls, they are happy to do the job.
Hope and Allegra, Grace’s daughters, and Brick, Madeline’s son, are also important in the novel. We know that when Grace had the girls, Hope almost died as the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The baby was in intensive care for weeks, but she survived against all odds. Since then she has been known as the weaker, shyer, less conspicuous twin. Allegra, her sister, is determined, confident, and very popular. Allegra has dated Brick for two years, and Hope knows that her sister is cheating on Brick with Ian Coburn, who is a college freshman. The only one who knows about Allegra cheating is Hope, and we learn that Hope covets Allegra’s boyfriend, Brick, and she hopes that sooner or later Allegra’s deceit will be discovered and then it will be her chance with Brick.
The name of the novel “The Rumour” comes from a simple, innocent incident that goes out of proportion. Rachel McMann is the mother of Brick’s best friend, and when Madeline goes to see her son in a baseball game, Rachel convinces her that she needs to have her own place to write. Rachel is an estate agent, competence for Eddie, and since she is quite pushy in her approach, Madeline agrees to see the one-bedroom apartment. The price for the lease is a bargain, and after consulting with her husband, Madeline agrees to rent the place. The day that Madeline goes to leave her things in the apartment, she parks her car in the drive. Eddie sees the car, and since in his field everybody knows everybody’s business, he had already heard about Madeline renting the apartment from Rachel. So miffed, he knocks at the door, gets into the apartment, and talks to Madeline for a bit.
This is a very simple incident, but in a small place like Nantucket people like talking about everybody else’s business. So one of the neighbours sees Madeline’s car in the drive and wonders how it is that Madeline has moved to this apartment, and wonder if she and Trevor might have broken up, and when the man sees Eddie, he also wonders what is going on between these two.
Rachel also tells her husband, who is a dentist, about Madeline renting the apartment, and when he mentions Eddie in the same sentence as Rachel finds it strange that Madeline didn’t go with Eddie as he is her friend and an estate agent. Rachel’s husband half-listens to her, and then he retells what he thought he understood to his assistant, and from this point on the rumour spreads all over Nantucket. So it means that people will start to think that Melanie has left Trevor for Eddie.
Great start!!! I love all these characters’ secrets, and I wonder how they are going to deal with them. What will happen between Grace and Benton? Will they have a full-blown affair? And what will Grace do when she hears the rumour? And Trevor? And what will happen with Eddie, his debts, and this seedy business of the Russian girls? And the younger generation… Will Brick discover Allegra’s deceit? He already has suspicions. Will Allegra leave Brick for Ian? Or will she play with both of them? And what will Hope do to expose her sister and conquer Brick?