By Leah Greenblatt
Updated June 23, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

In a juicy peach of a summer tome, Elin Hilderbrand again alchemizes her three favorite elements — food, love, and Nantucket — with eminently readable results. In her fifth novel, she interweaves the tales of two women: Marguerite, a retired chef who’s mysteriously cut herself off from the world almost entirely, and her estranged god-daughter, Renata, a vivacious 19-year-old with an adoring father, a rich and handsome fiancé, and a desperate will to learn about her long-dead mother. While undeniably pulpy at times — apparently, the sleepy island is a hotbed of Peyton Place-ish intrigue — The Love Season is so gratifying a page-turner you’ll forgive its soap opera sins.