Bev’s Imaginary Book Club: The Maid, What Alice Forgot, and The Hotel Nantucket

I want to make the (in da) book club joke so badly right but I’ve done it thrice times thrice already and I like what we have going on here.

Let’s talk about some books today! Funnily enough I chose two about hotel life, and one about memory. The memory part’s not the funny part, the hotel life is the funny part. Maybe it’s not funny.

Never mind.

These three reads stuck out, not only because one is the freshest-off-the-press by my all-time favorite author (do I really still need to convince you to read Elin? Ignore the covers, they’re mostly cheesy. The writing is everything.), one is a story that’s fascinating and puts your mind in that what-if-this-happened-to-me state, and one is just straight up touching. And then of course we’ll talk about what’s on my night stand and what else I need to get for this summer!

Okie doke, let’s dive in.

The Maid: so we’re starting with the touching one. And one that focuses on the scandals and secrets of the hotel industry! (which by the way, if anyone here works in the hotel biz, I need your best gossip. Tell me everything. You can stay anonymous of course, but if there is a secret story lurking in your head and heart and it needs to be released, consider this your opportunity. I won’t tell a soul.)

This book was SO sweet. The main character is a highly-functioning autistic young maid named Molly Gray, who finds herself overly trusting, overly helpful, and in the middle of a deep dark scandal when she enters a hotel suite and finds one of their most esteemed (and jerk face) guests dead in his bed. DEAD. In his bed, dude. She handles the scenario the best way she could, troubled with social skills and the nuances of verbal cues, and it just becomes this huge, huge mess. Who to trust? Who knows about this? Is someone framing MOLLY? Does everyone know? Did she do it? Hold on. You think she did it, don’t you?

Well, you’ll have to read it. It’s got a great twist at the end.

I say it’s sweet because of her innocent yet standoffish way of interacting with people. She’s a smart girl, don’t be fooled. And of course it’s sweet because of a delicate romance that’s weaved in and it’s just touching, okay?

I loved this book. I truly did. It’s a quick read because everyone is a suspect and you immediately hate every single person. But you must know.

The Maid – get in that.

What Alice Forgot: Okay, WHOA.

Just imagine that you’re on a treadmill at the gym one morning and you lose your footing and slip off. And then you wake up, on the floor, on your back and it’s ten years ago. You’re engaged, pregnant with your first child and about to close on an old fixer-upper. But like, it’s not ten years ago. It is now. And in fact you’re actually going through a divorce, have three (ahem, spoiled) kids and have completely changed as a person and everyone has a chip on their shoulder about who you’ve become. You’ve lost ten entire years of your life in your memory.

Well, that’s another book, not this one.

Just kidding it’s this one. I think, I forgot.

Just kidding, I will relax.

Also! Imagine seeing your family members and how drastically THEY’VE changed (and aged), physically and emotionally. It is just crazy.

But this is the thing: when Alice wakes up, she has the mindset of 1998, filled with hope, unjaded about her situation, in love. So her natural emotional reaction (besides shock at how everyone looks so different. And MEETING HER KIDS I mean what!), is the way she felt back then. She was . . . nicer. More excited and ambitious. She loved herself more. So it’s a wild ride when she realized how much her life has changed, how unpleasant and cynical she’s become, as pieces slowly start to come back.

It’s a fantastic story. You must squeeze it in this summer.

The Hotel Nantucket: Eeeeeeee!

This book has everything. Elin’s exquisite writing, her relatable characters, syrupy summer romances, surprising scandals, town gossip, a luxury (but historical!) hotel, descriptive food that will have your face sliding off in a river of drool, beloved characters from older novels (hello, Blue Bistro!), and a ghost. A GHOST. But Elin isn’t cheesy with her ghost. She does her right.

In short, there’s a new hotel in town. One with charm, promise, unbelievable amenities, a friendly (ahem, sort of) staff, all backed and bought by a London billionaire. People are skeptical of its impending success, only because it’s been through some rough times over the last 100 years. Plus the rumor about an affair and a fire and a ghost. Is it true? Oh, Grace will swoon you. Trust me.

The dramas and overlaps and misunderstandings are classic Elin. The character names are just as crazy, as she always does. I truly enjoyed visualizing this grand (but boutique-ish) hotel come together in all it hydrangea blue, oyster shell tile and copper this and that. Lavish, I tell you!

When can I book a stay, in other words.

The Hotel Nantucket – it is a MUST for this summer.

Okay, so I started Emily Giffin’s newest one Meant to Be, and I can tell (based on her note in the back, and from what you’ve said) that it’s loosely based on JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and their story, which I’m one million percent into. I don’t know the grit of them. I know only Carolyn as a style icon with impeccable fashion, JFK’s hair (and his fam, obv), and the crash. I remember the plane crash like it was yesterday. Not that this book will be about a plane crash, but I’m intrigued at what Giffin does with Cate and Joe. Have you read it yet?

I also still have The Family (mafia!) and Twenty Years Later (thriller!) on my nightstand, which I will get to. But tell me what other juicy summer books I need to make happen before the end of September. Or any books, it matters not. What about Book Lovers – is it so good? What else what else?!

Your turn, what’s been your favorite(s) lately? Spill it.

Also, the hotel people, I’m ready for your gossip when you are. Just let me get my coffee.

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19 Responses to Bev’s Imaginary Book Club: The Maid, What Alice Forgot, and The Hotel Nantucket

  1. Shannon June 28, 2022 at 8:57 am #
    Thanks for the recommendations. If you haven’t read Reminders of Him (Hoover) yet, it’s definitely worth adding to the list!
    • Bev Weidner June 28, 2022 at 9:13 am #
      Yessssss that's on my list! Bumping it up, thank you!
  2. Smitha Arons June 28, 2022 at 10:21 am #
    Book Lovers - 100%. Also Notes on an Execution and Once there were Wolves. Mandatory.
  3. Whitney June 28, 2022 at 10:29 am #
    I have never been a reader … (hear the breaks screeching;) .. but I love your suggestions and feel like these would be great to start with. Question - do you read at the same time as your imaginary book club members read or do you read them and then just suggest the ones you’ve already read? Seems so silly to ask this but I would love to understand so I can tag along.
    • Bev Weidner June 28, 2022 at 12:01 pm #
      It's totally okay that you've never been a reader, Whitney! You can start anytime. :) So my book club, it's really for fun. I announce what I'm reading, and if you want to read along, great! If not, you can take the suggestion and pocket it for later. Sometimes I have in-person meetups (in KC), but it's rare. This (and Instagram) is much easier. ;) Happy reading!
      • Whitney June 29, 2022 at 10:14 am #
        Thank you so much! I’m excited to get started.
  4. Jenn June 28, 2022 at 10:32 am #
    Thanks for the great writeups! I read The Silent Patient for my first summer read and started Apples Never Fall last night. My lineup includes Black Cake, Book Lovers, The Girl in the Stilt House, The Last Thing He Told Me, A Rogue's Company, Verity, Where the Sky Begins and The Seven Husbands. Can't wait for these!
    • Bev Weidner June 28, 2022 at 12:02 pm #
      This is a great list! I've read Silent Patient, Apples, Last Thing, and Verity. But I'm going to add the rest! (do you mean Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo (FANTASTIC book), or something different?
      • Jenn June 28, 2022 at 3:56 pm #
        Yes, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Glad to hear my list gets your thumbs up!
  5. Sara June 28, 2022 at 12:43 pm #
    I just read Vacationland, and also Lessons in Chemistry. Loved them both. If you haven’t read Meg Mitchell Moore, all her books are so good!
  6. Joanne June 28, 2022 at 12:49 pm #
    I LOVED What Alice Forgot and thought the Maid was super cute. I read Hotel Nantucket over the weekend and thought that one was pretty good too; though honestly I could have done without the ghost portion of the story. I prefer most of Elin's older books but haven't been the biggest fans with her new stuff. I tend to read lots of books that take place on Nantucket! I'm a sucker for the setting even if I have only managed to make it to the island once. Both If For Any Reason by Walsh and Summer Love by Thayer were cute Nantucket reads too.
  7. Kristen June 28, 2022 at 1:18 pm #
    Book Lovers was better than Beach Read but not as good as TPWMOV (IMO). Highly recommend Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel - you can get through it in a day or two and it’s so good!! Black Cake was a good one too.
  8. Tif June 28, 2022 at 2:41 pm #
    The Hotel Nantucket - of course. Forced myself to spread it out to two days : ) I LOVED the Blue Bistro nods...LOVED. I usually have one paper book, one e-book, and one audiobook going, and The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl was a spectacular listen. He narrates and I knew zero going in other "The Guy from Nirvana and Foo Fighters". 5 stars. Going There by Katie Couric is also a fantastic listen. On my list: Flying Solo - Linda Holmes (her Evvie Drake Starts Over from 2 years ago was excellent) Counterfeit - Kristin Chen (I love a good Oceans 8-type heist - this one has fake luxury bags!) Acts of Violet - Margarita Montimore (she wrote Oona Out of Order)
  9. Kyra Strachan June 28, 2022 at 5:38 pm #
    Book Lovers was SO good! Highly recommend squeezing that one in. I’ve got Love and Other Words, the Night Circus, and Silent Patient for my next few. Also patiently waiting for my preorder of It Starts with Us to come in 🙃 patience is not my forte
  10. Sara M June 28, 2022 at 7:05 pm #
    I loved that you read What Alice Forgot. I read that several years ago and it just stuck with me…I love the premise! Can you even imagine?! I love your book suggestions. I am going to read the maid ASAP
  11. Heather June 29, 2022 at 8:31 pm #
    Lessons in Chemistry is SO GOOD. My favorite book of the year so far.
  12. Natalie July 5, 2022 at 8:53 pm #
    Oh gurrrrrrrrl. If you haven't read Verity yet what are you even doing with your life?! I implore you to stop what youre doing, get in your car and get to your local bookseller (because supporting local is fun). Do not pass GO and all that jazz. Just stop it all and start this mind trip of a novel, then tell us what you think about it (if your brain doesn't explode or eyes bug outta your head first...) You're welcome. Thrice.
    • Bev Weidner July 6, 2022 at 11:09 am #
      Oh, I read it ages ago! It was THE WILDEST RIDE. I loved it so much. I even wrote a post about on the blog! So yeah, Team Verity for sure. :)
  13. Becky Van Drunen July 8, 2022 at 1:35 pm #
    Just finished Lessons In Chemistry and it was OUTSTANDING. Think Legally Blonde but she's a chemist turned TV cook in the 60s. Delicious.

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