Here's to Us
Everyone has their special happy place --- that place you go to in your mind and, if you’re lucky enough, is a short drive away. For Deacon Thorpe, that place had always been Nantucket. Ever since his father brought him there as a child for one magical day, right before he left the family for good, Deacon had held that place in his heart. After years of working as a line cook, he moved his way up in the competitive New York City restaurant scene. He was a handsome, bad-boy chef who followed his own rules and rebuked yours (think a cuter Anthony Bourdain). He landed a late-night TV show that followed him on his culinary exploits, and before he knew it, he was one of a new breed of rock star chefs.
However, money and fame can’t eliminate old wounds. No one knows that better than Deacon --- and maybe his three ex-wives. Laurel had been his steadfast high school girlfriend who always provided safe haven for him. When she became pregnant at 19 with their son Hayes, they married and began their lives together. As soon as a little money started rolling in for Deacon, his first order of business was to purchase American Paradise, his dream cottage on Nantucket. “Paradise” might be overreaching. It was truly paradise to Deacon, but to others it was a slightly ramshackle beach shack with a little more “shabby” than “chic.” But still Laurel embraced it, and came to love the place and the island almost as much as Deacon.
"The book immediately draws you in with its scenic descriptions of [Nantucket] and the Page Six-worthy life of a famous rock star chef."
Much like everything else in Deacon’s life, his relationships were tumultuous, to say the least. As his profile was raised, Deacon found himself running in more and more glamorous circles --- circles that his social worker wife Laurel was not privy to nor particularly interested in. He left Laurel for Oscar-winning actress Belinda Rowe and became the toast of the culinary world, splitting time between L.A. and New York, and, for the most part, leaving Laurel and Hayes in the dust. His marriage to Belinda might have been his longest, but it certainly wasn’t his easiest. Belinda could match Deacon tantrum for tantrum, impulsive decision for impulsive decision.
The one saving grace had been their daughter, Angie. Unable to become pregnant and starting to despair, Belinda applied for her and Deacon to adopt a baby girl, and soon Angie joined the family. With Belinda often away on movie shoots, Deacon’s relaxed restaurant schedule was well suited for fatherhood. He began teaching his daughter the ways of a well-run kitchen. No wonder Angie grew up to become her father’s sous chef at his famed NYC restaurant, the Board Room. Who else could run as tight a ship as Deacon other than his own offspring? What Deacon didn’t anticipate (or even know about) was that Angie, now all grown up, had fallen in love with the restaurant’s very married maître‘d. Well, the sins of the father…
The marriage to Belinda imploded when it was discovered that Deacon was carrying on an affair with their much-younger nanny, Scarlett, who soon became Mrs. Deacon Thorpe III. And not long after leaving Belinda, he and Scarlett had a daughter, Ellery. But domestication was never Deacon’s strong suit. His ne'er-do-well ways persisted, and when he forgot to pick up his young daughter at school in favor of getting drunk and going to a strip club, Scarlett packed a bag and returned to her hometown of Savannah with her daughter.
Defeated and dejected, the fifty-something, aging chef retreated to his beloved Nantucket. Here, while overlooking the ocean, he succumbed to a fatal heart attack. But even from beyond the grave, Deacon can still pull the strings. He charges his business manager and best friend, Buck, with gathering his wives and children at American Paradise one last time --- and it really could be the last. The house has been mortgaged to the hilt and is in arrears of almost $400,000. It’s due to be repossessed by the bank in two weeks! Can the women and children Deacon left behind figure out a way to save the house and his legacy?
Once again, the publication of a new Elin Hilderbrand novel signals that summer is here --- and, with it, long, lazy days spent poolside or at the beach, and being breezily transported to the sandy shores of Nantucket, courtesy of the author. The book immediately draws you in with its scenic descriptions of the island and the Page Six-worthy life of a famous rock star chef. A comfy beach chair and HERE’S TO US is the perfect recipe for a delectable reading experience.
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on June 16, 2016
Here's to Us
- Publication Date: February 7, 2017
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books
- ISBN-10: 0316375160
- ISBN-13: 9780316375160