Claire has a lovely house, a handsome husband, four beautiful children and an au pair. She's a successful artist whose blown glass is displayed in museums. But, she has trouble setting limits. After working too hard during her last pregnancy caused her to collapse and nearly resulted in the baby's death, she gave up her work at her husband's insistence. Claire's certain something is wrong with her baby and she feels guilty about his premature birth but she really wants to resume her glass blowing.
When she's asked to co-chair the committee that puts together Nantucket's annual Summer Gala, she can't say no. And, when the wealthy Lock Dixon insists that the only thing that will possibly do for the auction to benefit the island's poor children is a work of art by Claire, she agrees. Claire even promises to secure her ex-boyfriend, now a world-famous rock star, to sing at the gala.
Claire quickly finds herself in over her head. Yet, she's happier than she's been in a long time. Her work is exhausting but thrilling. And, when she finds herself drawn into an affair with the magnetic Lock, she doesn't know how to stop. Will Claire's marriage and friendships survive her summer affair?
A Summer Affairwas my first Elin Hilderbrand book and, boy, it is one juicy summer novel. In a previous post, I referred to A Summer Affair as "a soap opera of adultery" and that's still what stands out, to me. Claire is a weak person in many ways, but adultery is not something anyone who knows her would expect of her. She's nice--almost too nice. She also carries a lot of guilt. Claire and her friends shouldn't have let Daphne Dixon get in her car, the night of her accident. Claire shouldn't have worked in the hot house when she was pregnant. She carries her guilt with her everywhere and in everything she does.
Claire's a little afraid of Lock Dixon, at first. Surely he blames her for the head injury that caused his wife's personality to change. But, when he invites her to sip his favorite wine and talk, what Claire discovers is that Lock actually admires her work. Sparks fly between them and pretty soon they're involved in a torrid affair. Meanwhile, Claire is practically killing herself in her zeal to create the perfect work of blown glass for the gala auction. And, she's deceiving the people she loves. Her co-chair is a snob, the man in charge of incoming funds is skimming, and the thought of her former boyfriend and all they went through reminds her of simpler times.
I don't know what I expected to find in an Elin Hilderbrand novel. Maybe a little less angst? It's hard to remember, now that I've actually read one novel and I'm in the midst of another, but I don't think I expected the kind of character you want to shake. All the way through the book, I kept thinking, "Claire! You've got to stop! Think of your family!" I think half the reason I kept turning the pages was to find out if she'd ever come to her senses.
The scene I quoted made me chuckle and I always love it when there's some witty, smile-inducing moment (that scene also happens to be a pretty revealing and is important to the plot). I'd have liked a few more laughs, but in general I liked the tone of the book.
Since aqua seems to be the color of the day and I can finally load photos, it must be time for a polar bear photo from the Memphis Zoo. Doesn't he look like he's having fun?