Too early for beach readings

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Fans of summer beach reading don’t have to wait for summer for the good times to begin. This cold, chilly month brings what might be every beach-reader’s dream – a chance to hang out with fellow fans in a spectacular location (one featured in a favorite book). Plus, chefs concoct dishes based on themes from your book, as well as wine and bubbles.

Can this improve? What if the author of these favorite books joined his fans?

It’s happening: The Boston Wine and Food Festival (boswineandfoodfestival.com) is launching a “Golden Girl” weekend at the Boston Harbor Hotel that brings you closer to Elin Hilderbrand, aka the Beach Reading Queen.

The Boston Wine Festival continues through March at the Boston Harbor Hotel (Photo courtesy of Boston Harbor Hotel)

Hilderbrand, author of 27 (and counting) books, will be at BHH the weekend of February 26-27 for a list of cool events ranging from a “Blue Bistro” wine dinner based on his book of the same name to a Bubbly Sunday Brunch, a tribute to his love of champagne.

They opt for a large reading group vibe, filled with people who love beachside reads, great food, and the harbor setting — a place Hilderbrand calls one of his favorites in all of Boston (and one that she featured in her latest “Golden Girl”).

Hilderbrand told the Boston Herald that she might be as excited about the event — or more — than her readers.

Author Elin Hilderbrand. (Photo courtesy of Boston Harbor Hotel)

“Who doesn’t want to break bread with their readers,” the author said in a phone call from a hot island where she was focusing on rewrites for her upcoming beach book.

“I really relate to Boston,” she said. “The geography, the Patriots, Nantucket, the vineyard; I like everything. It’s gonna be so much fun.

Hilderbrand built the weekend program with the Wine Festival team and one of his favorite Nantucket chefs, Erin Zircher.

For BHH chief David Daniels, it’s a dream lineup.

“When I first went to Nantucket, I dreamed of working and living there. A few years later, it became reality. Nantucket has provided me with 10 years of the most creative and fulfilling days to hone my culinary craft, while forming some of my forever friends. The opportunity to bring this event to this year’s festival in partnership with Elin and Chef Erin Zircher excites me, while her menu will reflect that breathtaking natural environment and island tranquility that will always be special for me,” he said.

Boston Harbor Hotel Chef David Daniels (photo courtesy of Boston Harbor Hotel)

Hilderbrand has lived in Nantucket for more than 25 years, but Boston is no stranger to her. Every year she moves to Beacon Hill for six weeks of book reviews.

During her stay, she soaks up the city through walks and outings between working hours.

“The Boston Harbor Hotel is one of my favorites in the city,” she said. She put a big scene in the hotel and her bar for this reason.

And as much as the setting — and the food and wine — is a draw, she says, the more her readers are, people who tend to connect in real ways and who she sees herself in.

“I’m my own demographic,” said the busy mother of teenagers. “Most of my readers are like me.”

What can we expect from the weekend? First, the setup:

Saturday night’s wine dinner is inspired by the menu from his best-selling novel “The Blue Bistro” and will feature signature dishes and wines paired with storytelling.

You will experience firsthand the life of Hilderbrand and his inspirations for his many novels. Hilderbrand said she likes it to be more of a conversation: she encourages guests to contribute their questions, thoughts and ideas, as is always the case at her many book signings and in-person events.

“All I ask of people is to come with an open mind,” she said. “It’s not all about me. It starts like that, but it evolves to be all around us.

Hilderbrand said she sees this happening even in lineups at book signings: Bonded by their love of reading, storytelling, the beach and more, her readers strike up conversations online and often leave as new friends.

Sunday offers Sunday bubbles and brunch with Elin, at noon in the hotel’s Atlantic room. There, you’ll have more chance to ask questions, share thoughts and, of course, get your favorite books signed.

She encourages guests to ask questions – but warns them that when you are welcomed into her life, you could find yourself in a future plot.

“Every conversation and experience I have is always in danger,” she said with a laugh. “People drink wine and they start telling you things…and sometimes they’re fine.”

What a memory that would be.


For more details and to register, visit boswineandfoodfestival.com.

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