The Five-Star Weekend

Image of The Five-Star Weekend
Release Date: 
June 12, 2023
Little, Brown & Company
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Internet blogs have become popular, and Hollis Shaw, living in Wellesley, MA, is amazed by how her food blog, Hungry with Hollis, has taken off. With her physician husband Matthew, who is always working and leaving her alone, she has gained confidence by posting recipes and meeting folks from all walks of life. This pastime eases the tension between her and Matthew though she worries about their marriage. With their grown daughter Caroline away at college, her life with Matthew is much different from when they first married.

Hollis needs to meet with Matthew to talk about bringing back the romance and friendship they once shared, and after they quarrel before he leaves for work, she is adamant about patching things up. Imagine her shock when she later learns Matthew is in a car accident on an ice-slicked road while on his way to the airport—a fatal one.

With grief and remorse, Hollis sets about putting the pieces of her life together. Not only is Matthew gone, but Caroline has become more distant. Hollis is always the devoted wife and mother; but after Hollis’ website took off, Caroline believes she and her father took back seat to her mom’s new “hobby.” Now with Matthew gone, Caroline blames Hollis for her father’s death. What can Hollis do to get back into Caroline’s good graces?

Hollis has an idea to alleviate her grief. She will go to their home in Nantucket and plan what she calls a “Five-Star Weekend,” and invite her best friends from each decade of her life: her best friend growing up on the island, Tatum; her BFF from college, Dru-Ann; her Wellesley neighbor, Brook; and Gigi, a woman from her blog who reached out to her after Matthew’s death and with whom she immediately connected. She believes this is precisely what she needs to get back into life, and having her closest friends should help her through this transition. But will the five women all get along?

Each guest arrives with emotional baggage. Will confiding in each other help solve their problems or destroy what is supposed to be an idyllic weekend?

Tatum needs this time to escape from her anxiety over a recent breast biopsy but hasn’t gotten the results and fears she’s inherited the cancer rampant among her family members.

Dru-Ann, a wealthy and famous sports agent, recently pulled a faux pas, which may mean the end of the career she loves.

Hollis’s Wellesley neighbor, Brooke, is married to a jackass who treats her like dirt. She’s had it with her marriage, and she discovers the truth about herself while on the island.

Finally, there’s Gigi, exuberant and fun-loving, but the one with the most significant secrets she needs to get off her chest. Though she feels a bond with Hollis, can she reveal what she is hiding in front of all these women who have been Hollis’s friends forever and still keep their respect?

The weekend progresses with many plans, including sumptuous meals created by Hollis, different excursions on the island, shopping, dining, sailing, drinking, and more. All the while, Caroline is invited for the weekend to film everything to help with her budding career as a filmmaker. Hollis is praying this will bring them back together and she’ll have fun with Hollis’ friends.

Now that Hollis is widowed, Tatum and her husband Kyle plan to hook her up with Jack, her high school crush and first love. Though the four had made plans to attend the same college, marry together, and share their lives on the island, that did not happen. So now Tatum hopes Hollis and Jack can reconnect and maybe Hollis will stay on the island.

An exciting and fun-filled summer read, The Five-Star Weekend, offers a look into the lives of the well-to-do. Expect the unexpected and prepare for the emotional, personal, joyous, and heartbreaking escapades these women face.

The prose drags somewhat with point-of-view hopping and extensive name-dropping descriptions of expensive shops and restaurants. Still, it is comforting to see that no matter one’s socioeconomic situation, we all suffer the same troubles. This read makes the reader wish to be part of Hollis’s in-crowd. But after all, this is fiction! For those who ever wanted to visit Nantucket, this novel is like a travel guide to the charming, quaint, yet expensive island.