A Beautiful Disaster
One family’s journey from death to life
Every family has a history, with memories that are either comfort or curse. It would be difficult, however, to find a more convoluted and painful history than that of Deacon Thorpe. Here’s to Us, by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown and Co., June 2016, $28), is the story of his family, and their struggle to accept his death as they gather at his summer cottage in Nantucket to scatter his ashes.
Deacon Thorpe was a celebrity chef, complete with TV fame and a classy, highpriced restaurant. Public adoration can’t erase the pain of being abandoned by his father at 13 years old, though, and the drug and alcohol abuse that ended his first two marriages has left his third on rocky ground. When he dies unexpectedly, his agent contacts his family with his final request: that they all gather for a weekend to say goodbye.
Unfortunately, the ex-wives and widow hate each other and the adult children each harbor dark secrets. But in a house full of related strangers, secrets won’t stay hidden. Each chapter tells a piece of the story from one person’s perspective, and the reader bears witness to their pain as well as their love for Deacon Thorpe, the man whose personal demons shaped their lives. The conflicts escalate until the moment everyone sets out in a small boat to scatter Deacon’s ashes, each considering their future without him. Is there hope for any of them?
Elin Hilderbrand is a best-selling author of numerous summer beach and romance novels, and Here’s to Us is one of her best. Alternately funny and sad, it paints a touching picture of a celebrity’s life cut short, and the family’s need to rebuild their lives. Hilderbrand doesn’t pull her punches, and the story is better for it, captivating her readers until the very last page.