Summary: Good-natured Claire Danner Crispin seems to have it all: an adoring, handsome husband, four beautiful children, a gorgeous home on Nantucket Island, and a career as a renowned art glass blower. So, what could possibly make her -- the woman who has everything - take a chance that might shatter her entire world? How does she juggle her family's endless needs and her own personal desires? And how far is she willing to go to fulfill them all? New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand is back with a tantalizing story about a loving, overcommitted, under-indulged wife and mother who, in an uncharacteristic moment of vulnerability, begins ...A SUMMER AFFAIR. -- Little, Brown and Company
The covers of Elin Hilderbrand's novels always make me long for summer - they generally feature sand, water and sun. Although I always liked the covers, I had never read one of her books before this one but I am glad I jumped in - A Summer Affair: A Novel was the perfect combination of interpersonal drama and escape to a beach locale.
Against her better judgment, Claire agrees to chair the Annual Summer Gala on Nantucket Island. As the planning for the gala progress, Claire begins an affair with one of the local benefactors, Lockhart. Both Claire and Lockhart are married and the island is small so you can imagine the subterfuge that ensues as they try to keep their affair from their spouses, the Gala committee and fellow islanders. In addition, Claire is struggling to keep all her balls in the air - husband, children, glass art creation for the gala and sundry other gala duties as co-chair. Which leads me to what I found so difficult about Claire - she seemed a constant reluctant participant in her own life. She didn't want to chair the gala and felt she already had too much on her plate but she did it; she didn't want to always serve as cook and cleaner to her family while her husband sat idly before the television but she did it; and, finally, she knew getting in to a relationship with Lock was wrong on many levels but she did that too. It was frustrating to watch her unravel her own and other's lives all due to a lack of ability to say "No".
Despite my misgivings about Claire, I really enjoyed the book. Hilderbrand creates a multi-layered cast of characters to surround Claire and each of their storylines drew me in and kept me quickly reading through the 400+ pages. It would have been easy to make this book trite with the main storyline of infidelity but Hilderbrand brings much more depth to the story and creates characters whose lives interest the reader. By the end of the book, I felt as if I were part of that Nantucket community!
For more stunning photos of Nantucket, click here