In A Summer Affair, Elin Hilderbrand has crafted an idyllic setting for the most illicit of affairs. Claire Danner Crispin is married to an attractive, dedicated man and together they have built a life straight out of a magazine: a custom built home on Nantucket Island, four beautiful children, an au pair, and to top it off, a glass blowing workshop behind the house for Claire to practice her art.
Even though it looks like perfection from the outside, Claire is restless. She’s up to her ears in children’s activities, worrying about developmental milestones, laundry, and dinner preparations (sound familiar?).
Things take an interesting turn when a local philanthropist asks her to chair the biggest fundraising event of the year–and to make the item up for auction as well. I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but put the pieces together as to why the book’s title is what it is.
Hilderbrand has crafted a tale that takes you away to the island–the dialogue is real and rich, the relationships complex and there are a few plot twists. I liked how she changed perspectives–the majority of the book was written focused on Claire, but other characters get their due as well. Claire’s best friend, who is not exactly equal in social status sees the whole situation differently than her best friend. One of the characters/relationships I enjoyed the most was that of Claire and her high school sweetheart, Max. Claire calls on him to deliver for the fundraiser, and he does so with gusto. It brought to mind some the friendships I made in high school, and how yes, if any of those friends called on a whim, I do whatever I could to help them. Hiderbrand’s descriptions of their young love, of how adolescent friends know you in a way people later in life just can’t, really struck a chord.
Of course, all plot lines in the book come to a climax at the actual fundraiser, one plot line literally comes crashing down around the event.
This book kept me interested the entire time–I read it over the course of about two days. It’s available through Amazon.com, and would fit well in anyone’s beach bag!
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