The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand is what one may refer to as the perfect beach read. In fact, the back cover of the paperback edition which I read, clearly states that it is “A Readers Digest #1 Unforgettable Beach Read” however, I have to admit that I wasn’t nearly as captivated with it as I thought I would be. Basically, the story of The Blue Bistro follows the main character Adrienne Dealey as she moves to Nantucket after another relationship gone sour and attempts to balance working at a local summer restaurant with no previous experience while becoming involved with her boss all at the same time. As you would expect, this makes for an interesting and exciting summer but, ultimately I was surprised when I found the restaurant aspect more interesting than the romance.
I loved the restaurant aspect of The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand. It was very obvious that Elin Hilderbrand did her research regarding restaurant service. Her descriptions of the location, the food, the patrons, and the staff made me want to cook gourmet food and eat at gourmet restaurants. The friendships and relationships between the supporting characters were interesting and drama filled as each had their own apparent personality quirks. Given that I have never worked in a restaurant setting before, The Blue Bistro, allowed my imagination to run wild wondering what really behind the scenes of a local ‘hot spot’ especially since I’m pretty sure some of the details of the restaurant/waitressing business were exaggerated in order to tell the story. Or maybe not? Either way, it makes for interesting drama.
Unfortunately, the restaurant drama was truly the only drama that I really enjoyed within The Blue Bistro. I did not enjoy the “love” story drama between Adrienne and her boss Thatcher at all. There was an obvious attraction between Adrienne and Thatcher from their first meeting but, I felt that the relationship was never fully developed. I didn’t understand Adrienne’s continued attraction for Thatcher especially with the way he continuously left her hanging and treated her like she had no say or no sense of understanding. I felt that Thatcher spent more time being concerned about his partner (best friend) in the restaurant, Fiona, who had to be monitored due to her deteriorating health, instead of focusing on his relationship with Adrianne. While I did like loyalty to his best friend, I did not like that it appeared to be very one sided. I never felt that Fiona put forth the same amount of energy into the friendship as Thatcher. In fact, at times it almost felt as if Thatcher wanted to be with Fiona more than he wanted to be with Adrienne. Especially since the author kept having flashbacks to when they were children and he had such a large crush and emotional attachment to her. As a reader who was watching Adrienne struggle with this, there were multiple times when I wanted her to just grow a back bone and tell him off instead of waiting to see when the next time he were leave her hanging for Fiona. As a character Adrianne grows up during her summer in Nantucket finally accepting her flaws and letting go of her awkward past. She becomes ready to embrace her future, and ultimately I think that she outgrows her relationship with Thatcher.
Overall, I feel that The Blue Bistro would have been an excellent book if the author stuck to the restaurant drama alone and steered clear of the love story. For me, this was a summer romance novel ruined by the romance, and for once I was cheering for them to NOT end up together.